chocolate pear ‘n cardamom rugelach. Rugelach is one of those things that just always tastes better homemade. Using the best quality ingredients (say, going organic for the butter and the cream cheese in particular) will really take these the extra mile.
There are numerous (shall we dare say hundreds?) of takes on these little Jewish pastries, with different ratios of butter, cream cheese and sour cream (with several of the more ‘modern’ versions omitting the later ingredient). I actually find it unnecessary to use such a high amount of butter and cream cheese as many of the recipes out there do (many of which are also topped up with an egg or two). But I do think that adding a touch of sour cream makes them all the more heavenly.
In the end, I like my pastry to only be lightly sweet, nice and tangy, and really go all out in the filling. A recent favourite of mine is this one, a wonderful spiced up pear jam with warm cardamom tones and pair it with a fine dark chocolate or pecans (or both). (Click here for the pear ‘n cardamom jam recipe)
Just watch out that if working in a warm climate or kitchen (as I was) the pastry can get warm and sticky fairly quickly. So do refrigerate throughout the process if need be (I learned this in my second batch)(which incidentally also resulted in much more handsome looking rugelach). Note to oneself: learn from my mistakes.
All else accounted for, what can I say other than these were a raging success this past week. They might not be lookers, but they sure are one of the best pastries my food tasters (aka guinea pigs) and myself had had as of late. Definitely worth an extra hour (or two) of Ballet Beautiful.
for the pastry
140 g (10 TBS) unsalted butter, softened
140 g (5 oz) cream cheese, softened
45 mL (3 TBS) sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
250 g (2 cups) unbleached flour
2 TBS evaporated cane juice (or raw sugar)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
for the filling
120 mL (1/2 cup) pear ‘n cardamom jam (click here for recipe)
45 g (1.8 oz) fine dark chocolate, finely chopped
50 g (1/3 cup) pecans, chopped (optional)
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Sieve in the flour, cane juice and the salt and mix until just well combined (do not overmix as to avoid a tough dough)- it should resemble coarse crumbs.
With your hands, divide the dough into four portions, form into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 1 hour (until firm).
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Working one ball at a time, roll out in a lightly floured surface into roughly 25 cm (10 inch) circles. If working in a warm climate, work quickly and if it begins to heavily stick refrigerate briefly and cary on.
Spread the jam and sprinkle the chocolate flakes and pecans (optional). Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Working one wedge at a time, roll up from the wide to the narrow end. Once all the wedges are done, refrigerate for 15 minutes. Brush with egg wash and bake until browned 20-25 minutes.