Rugelach is a pastry from my childhood, something my mom used to make when I was little. This cookie-looking pastry filled with ground raisins and nuts was one of my favorite dessert snacks back then. Fast forward 15 years, and here I am trying to reproduce this childhood treat and, given the constraints of my busy life, I am using store-bought puff pastry without actually making my own pastry dough. And, I have to admit, the rugelach made out of store-bought puff pastry came out just fine, if not outstanding.
Rolling the pastry made me think about the origins of the word “rugelach”. Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry with origins from Eastern Europe, and “rog” means “horn” in both Russian and Polish. The second part of the word is just a diminutive suffix, so rugelach means “little horns” so to speak. The Russian word for rugelach is “rogaliki” which also means “little horns”.
The beauty of rugelach is that you can use an endless number of fillings, from nuts and fruits to chocolate and jams. The rugelach, the way I remember it from my childhood, usually has raisins and nuts as a filling. In this recipe I am using pecans, raisins and cherry fruit spread for a filling. Fruit spread not only adds a flavor, it mainly acts as a binding agent, holding together ground nuts and raisins. I chose a fruit spread (vs. jelly or preserves) because it has a very smooth but dense texture which is perfect for use as a filling in pastry: it will not run out of the pastry while baking.
And here is the recipe.
Rugelach with pecan and raisin filling
Prep time: 60 min
Makes a dozen of rugelach pastries
- 1 puff pastry sheet (Pepperidge Farm brand)
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup any dark and not very runny fruit spread, I used black cherry spreadable fruit
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (for sprinkling)
1) Preheat oven to 400.
2) Put raisins, pecans, and fruit spread in the food processor, process until finely ground.
3) Roll out pastry sheet on a floured surface. Using a round plate, make a round shape on a pastry sheet and trim around that shape. What you have now is a circle. Divide circle in 8 triangles as shown in my photos below. Fill each triangle with the filling, making sure not to put any filling on the very tip of the triangle. Starting at the wide base of each triangle, roll each pastry triangle towards the tip to form a rugelach shape.
You can also use trimmed out parts of puff pastry and fill them with the pecan-raisin filling.
4) Transfer rugelach on a foil-lined baking sheet.
5) To make egg wash, in a small bowl, whisk an egg until smooth. Using brush, brush egg wash over rugelach, then sprinkle with sugar over the top.
6) Bake for 20 minutes until pastry puffs up and becomes golden brown.
More puff pastry recipes:
- Apple tarte tatin, or simply caramel apple tart, with strawberries
- Cinnamon apple pockets, puff pastry
- Halloween apple and pear mummy treats
- Nightmare harvest: Halloween pumpkin puff pastry pie (tart) with apple-cranberry stuffed crust, chocolate bugs, and cinnamon wizard hats
- Plum and apple tart on puff pastry
- Puff pastry pizza with bell peppers, mushrooms, and Mozzarella cheese
- Pumpkin (Butternut squash) turnovers recipe