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Cream Cheese Rugelach

A few years ago, Chef Jason Weiner of Almond attended a baby shower in Brooklyn. There was a lot of delicious food at the party, but the showstopper was the transcendent, cream cheese rugelach. Never a fan of such pastries, he suddenly saw them in a new light. This rugelach recipe came from baby Quentin’s grandmother, Risa Smith. She and the chef became fast friends, and the rest is history. Baker Risa Smith now comes to the restaurant every Wednesday and knocks out rugelach for the week.–Tracey Zabar

LC Not Your Grandma's Rugelach Recipe Note

We’ve come to understand that the best rugelach is the rugelach your grandma made. This cream cheese rugelach recipe isn’t that rugelach. It is, however, in the words of our testers, “flaky,” “tender,” “a dream to work with,” even “perfect,” although you can be the judge of that. Just don’t tell grandma.

Cream Cheese Rugelach Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 2 H
  • Makes about 36 rugelach

Ingredients

  • For the cream cheese dough
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and chilled
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • For the raisin filling
  • One 15-ounce box golden raisins
  • Enough water to cover the raisins
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or filberts (hazelnuts)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons rum
  • For the apricot filling
  • One 15-ounce box apricots
  • Enough water (or orange juice), to cover the apricots
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or filberts)
  • One 12-ounce jar of orange marmalade
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons orange brandy

Directions

  • Make the cream cheese dough
  • 1. Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand with some pea-size pieces of butter. Add the cream cheese and sour cream and pulse just until the batter comes together into a rough dough.
  • 2. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a floured work surface and divide into 4 portions. Pat each portion into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.
  • Make one of the fillings
  • 3. For the raisin filling: Put the raisins in a medium saucepan and cover with the water. Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Simmer over low heat until almost all the water is absorbed and the raisins are plumped, anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the heat and and size of pan. Transfer the raisin sauce to a blender or food processor and pulse. Add the walnuts and process again to form a paste. Stir in the rum to taste and set aside to cool.

    For the apricot filling: Put the apricots in a medium saucepan and cover with the water. Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Simmer over low heat until almost all the water is absorbed and the apricots are soft and plumped, 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the heat and size of the pan. Transfer the apricot sauce to a blender or food processor and pulse. Add the walnuts and marmalade, and process again to form a paste. Stir in the brandy to taste and set aside to cool.
  • Assemble the rugelach
  • 4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
  • 5. Roll 1 portion of the dough into a rectangle that’s between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Spread with 1/4 of the filling. Starting with the long side, roll up the dough to make a tight cylinder. Flatten it a bit and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the cylinder in the freezer or refrigerator and repeat the process with the remaining portions of dough.
  • 6. Take just one of the cylinders out of the fridge or freezer and slice it into 1 1/2-inch-wide cookies. Place each cookie, seam side down, on the prepared sheet. Whisk the egg yolks and brush very lightly over the tops and then sprinkle sparingly or generously, as you see fit, with sugar. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Repeat with the other portion of dough.
  • 7. Bake the rugelach for about 25 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Cool the rugelach for a few minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
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