Dorie might call this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe “The rugelach that won over France” but for a while there, I was thinking I might have to call mine “The rugelach that only a mother can love” 😉
I mean, when this is happening the first time you make the recipe, you know it can’t be a great thing…
You see, I’ve never made rugelach before. It’s a cream cheese and butter pastry (filled with nuts and dried fruit and chocolate with a touch of coconut) that is very soft to work with so the recipe is full of all sorts of advice on chilling the pastry – to the point of letting it sit in the freezer for an hour after you’ve rolled the filling up inside before you cut it. That is what I did (I do tend to follow recipes closely at least the first time I am trying them, especially with baking) and what you see above is what happened. I found the pastry very brittle and the filling very rough (sharp edges breaking through the thinly-rolled pastry). It wasn’t all bad though…
I wasn’t happy with the result, however, especially since I had heard how easy Dorie’s recipe was – so I asked around the Tuesdays with Dorie group and was directed to the recipe in Baking from My Home to Yours which was essentially the same, although it called for a different shape…
These were a bit easier to work with (I shaped them immediately after I had rolled them out then chilled them before I baked them. Easier than the log-shape called for in Baking Chez Moi but still not the easiest pastry to work with. The result was ok…
But I still wasn’t happy – although my colleagues were – they are my faithful taste testers and told me they don’t care about the shape or if they fell apart a bit… On reading Olga’s post last week, I decided that I was overthinking things and that I should simply follow my instincts when it came to chilling, freezing, refrigerating etc…
So I made another 1/2 batch of the pastry, chilled it in the fridge for about 45 minutes then rolled it out quickly…
I didn’t worry too much about the shape being perfect. I also ditched the chunky filling, favouring a raspberry-chocolate spread from Sandrine Pastry in Kelowna and a handful of chopped walnuts…
And the result, after all that practice and following my instincts?
My tips from working with this recipe:
1. Handle the pastry as little as possible. It’s a soft one and will warm up quickly if over-handled, making it really difficult to work with (rolling etc…)
2. Perhaps pulverize your filling (nuts, chocolate and dried fruit) in a food processor before you fill the pastry – even chocolate chips seemed giant when I was rolling tiny pieces of pastry. Or, just use a jam. Or, you know, Nutella… 😉
3. Definitely chill the dough (in the fridge) before you roll it out. Once you’ve rolled it out, quickly fill and roll it up again but just chill in the fridge, not the freezer. The pastry should be cold to the touch but not frozen and brittle when you are trying to slice it.
4. When slicing, use a serrated knife and use a gentle sawing motion. Wipe the knife clean between slices.
5. When in doubt, practice makes perfect.
These rugelach might have just won me over after all 😉
Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s rugelach (the version that appears in Baking from My Home to Yours) over on Leite’s Culinaria or on p 310 of Baking Chez Moi.
Tuesdays with Dorie participants don’t publish the recipes on our blogs, so you’re encouraged to purchase Baking Chez Moi for yourself which you can do on Amazon (this link should bring you to the Amazon store in your country) or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.
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