Tuesday, December 23, 2008

84. Date Walnut Rugelach (p. 682)

I promised three cookie posts. But, I just couldn't resist the urge to make this recipe* for these delicious treats in honor of Hanukka. So, here's a bonus cookie post, at no extra charge.

Essentially, these cookies are tiny little tarts - little triangles of pie dough filled with dates and walnuts and all rolled up. I've always wondered if there was anything better than pie crust. Well, I've got my answer - pie crust made with crem cheese! First, I combined cut up pieces of cold butter and cream cheese, sugar, salt and flour. I pulsed these ingredients in the food processor until it came together as a dough.

I put the dough out onto my baking mat, broke it into six more or less evenly sized pieces. After a little firsage action, I patted each piece of dough into a small disk and put them in the refrigerator to get nice and firm.

Meanwhile, I made the filling. I took a pound of pitted dates and whizzed them in the food processor until they were nice and finely chopped. I did the same with some walnuts. I mixed the dates and walnuts together with some sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract.

Next, working one at a time, I rolled out each dough disk into an eight-inch round (I used a dessert plate as a guide for the size). I sliced the round into eight wedges, keeping the wedges together for the time being. I brushed the wedges with some apricot preserves that I had warmed on the stovetop. The Book calls for apricot jam, but I could only find preserves. It worked out just fine, but I think that The Book had in mind something without chunks of apricot. Then I spread some of the filling around on the wedges, leaving some space around the inside and outside edges. Finally, I rolled each wedge up, and put them on a baking sheet, tucking the loose ends under to keep the filling in. Finally, I baked the rugelach until they were puffed and golden.

You often hear about food being so good that it's "dangerous." But, other then fugu, most food isn't really dangerous. Rugelach just might be an exception. Rugelach is served at Hanukkah to commemorate the bravery of Judith, the biblical heroine who ingratiated herself with an enemy general by feeding him cheesecakes and pancakes. Once he was lulled into a stupor by all that she had fed him, she cut his head off. So, you just might think twice when someone offers you rugelach. But just try and resist them.

Date Cooked: December 21, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: A-

*The recipe in The Book is very similar to the one on epicurious, but some of the proportions are a little different.

1 comment:

Melissa Bach Palladino said...

I LOVED these cookies. Loved them. Talk about dangerous!