Made with a light, flaky, pastry containing cream cheese and an enhanced sweet mincemeat filling, these small Jewish pastry treats are a true taste sensation.
Oh. My. Goodness! I’m so glad I took the time to make these wonderful Rugelach pastries. They are seriously delicious! Incredibly moreish!! If you only have time make one bake this Christmas, I really must encourage you to try these little dudes!
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I first encountered Rugelach on Alex’s Very Much Blog, where she too made her first batch of these little pastries, which will no doubt not be her last. Hers were filled with Nutella and looked amazing. They very quickly made their way onto my ‘to bake list’. In fact, they went straight to the top of said list as I couldn’t bear to wait until next Christmas to try them! I’m so so glad I didn’t have any patience on this occasion!
Rugelach are a Jewish sweet enriched pastry which are often made for celebrations such as Hanukkah. Their dainty size makes these little morsels perfect for gatherings. The pastry, which is made with cream cheese, is spread with a thin layer of filling before being rolled up, in the same way as we do for a croissant. This results in a wonderfully tasty, flaky treat which really has to be made and tasted to be believed.
Now, I believe you can use a whole host of different fillings to flavour these little pastries. Alex used Nutella, and made various other suggestions. I decided to use a spare jar of sweet mincemeat in our mixture which I jazzed up by adding ground almonds, the zest of a clementine & lemon and a little mixed spice. In preparation for making these, I came across this web page which not only talks a little about the history of the Rugelach but also provides some very useful tips for when making them.
Although the recipes I’ve read for Rugelach suggest using a food processor to make the pastry, I was adamant that I was going to make some despite the fact that Mr E & I don’t own one. I can confirm that it certainly is possible to make the pastry by hand, after all, households in years gone by wouldn’t have had such a gadget either! I simply took my time. I worked the butter into the flour to create breadcrumbs as usual. The cold cream cheese was then broken up and added to the mixture and incorporated with the breadcrumbs by cutting through the mixture with a knife. The dough was then brought together and chilled. The mincemeat was blended to make it smoother, as recommended in the link above, and the extra flavourings were added. The pastry was rolled out and sliced into triangles as we would a pizza or pie. The filling was spread onto each triangle as I found this a neater way to apply the filling rather than spreading it all over the full circle and then slicing. It meant the filling wasn’t too near the edge of the triangle and made for less seepage during the bake! The triangles were then rolled and chilled before being painted with milk, dusted with granulated sugar and baked!
The only flaw with Rugelach is that they are too darn cute and delicious – one simply isn’t enough! 😉
Christmas is fast approaching, so for the next couple of weeks I shall be hanging up my blogging pinny to allow ourselves to fully enjoy the festivities. So may Mr E & I take this opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, and we hope to see you back at Only Crumbs Remain in 2016!
So, let’s get to it and bake!
Rugelach with Sweet Mincemeat Yum
Yield: 48 Rugelach
Serves: 10 – 24 people
Time: 50 – 60 minutes hands on time; 20 minutes bake time; plus resting time and cooling time
Adapted from: Alex’s Nutella filled Rugelach at Berry Much Blog
You will need:
1 x Large Mixing Bowl
1 x Medium Mixing Bowl
2 x Large Baking Trays
Pallet Knife (or similar)
Stick Blender or Food processor
For the Enriched Pasty
235g Plain Flour
200g Unsalted Butter, chilled & diced
1 tbsp. Granulated / Caster Sugar
200g Full Fat Cream Cheese, chilled (use the best quality you can afford)
Icing Sugar for rolling
For the Sweet Mincemeat Filling
411g jar Sweet Mincemeat
1 Clementine / Satsuma, Zest of
1 Lemon, Zest of
50g Ground Almonds
1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
To Finish the Rugelach
Granulated / Caster Sugar
How to make them:
1. Make the pastry. Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the chilled diced butter. Rub the butter into the flour between your thumb and finger tips, until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs. Stir the sugar into the crumbs. Tip the full fat cream cheese onto a plate and slice it up (avoid over handling it). Add it to the breadcrumb mixture. Use a pallet knife or the back of a dinner knife to cut through the mixture. Move the bowl around as you do so. Gradually the cream cheese will become coated in flour and will resemble course breadcrumbs. At this point use your hands to bring the dough together into one ball.
2. Chill the pastry. Place the pastry ball onto a work surface and divide into 3 pieces of approximate equal size. Shape each into a ball and then flatten to a disc. Wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).
3. Add to the sweet mincemeat filling. Either use a stick blender or food processor for this stage (I used a stick blender). Tip the jarred sweet mincemeat into a bowl and give it a little stir. Use the stick blender / food processor to breakdown the fruit to make a slightly rough mixture. Stir the sweet mincemeat and blend again. Don’t worry if the mixture isn’t totally smooth. Add the orange zest, lemon zest, ground almonds and mixed spice and stir together thoroughly. Add a little more ground almonds if your mixture is still a little loose.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 200c / 180 fan / Gas 6.
5. Prepare the baking trays. Base line the baking trays with greaseproof paper, use a little margarine to tack down each corner.
5. Roll out the pastry. Remove the pastry from the fridge a couple of minutes before rolling it out. Dust the clean work surface liberally with icing sugar. Place one of the pastry discs onto the dusted work surface. Dust the rolling pin and the upper surface of the pastry with icing sugar. Roll the pastry out into a circle about 2mm thick, dusting with more icing sugar if necessary.
6. Cut and fill the pastry. Use a paring knife to slice the pastry into 16 triangles, in the same way as we would when serving a pizza – ideally aiming for them to be approximately the same size. Dust the area next to the rolled pastry with more icing sugar. Take one of the triangles and lay it on the icing sugar with the pointed end furthest from you. Spoon half a teaspoon of the sweet mincemeat filling onto the triangle. Use the back of the spoon to spread it out, avoid getting it too near the edge.
7. Roll the pastry. Roll the pastry into a ‘croissant’ shape by starting the roll at the short straight edge nearest to you. Place the shaped pastry onto the prepared baking tray, ensuring the seam is tucked underneath. Fill and roll the remaining triangles.
8. Chill. Place the tray in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. During this time roll and shape the remaining two discs of pastry.
9. Dust with sugar. Use a pastry brush to gently paint a little milk onto the upper surface of each rugelach. Sprinkle with sugar.
9. Bake. Place the shaped chilled pastry into the centre of the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. You may need to rotate the tray half way through the bake. You’re aiming for the pastry to be cooked through, crisp and a golden brown colour.
10. Cool. Once baked, remove from the oven and after 2 minutes carefully transfer them to a cooling tray.
a) Avoid over working the pastry when incorporating the cream cheese. The over worked pastry will be tough and not flaky once baked.
b) Use a food processor to make the pastry if you prefer, however avoid over working it.
c) If you are short of time when shaping the Rugelach, you may prefer to apply the filling to the rolled out pastry before slicing it into triangles. This is probably the way most households would make them, but having tried both routines, I preferred applying the filling after slicing the pastry as I was more able to ensure the filling wasn’t too near the edges and therefore resulting in less seepage of the sweet mincemeat during the bake.
d) If your kitchen is particularly warm you may find that the pastry starts to shine and become tacky whilst you fill and roll each of the triangles. If this happens, simply scatter over some icing sugar.