These rugelach would’ve been a lot better if only I’d remembered how much I dislike orange marmalade and used another jam instead, like apricot. Or strawberry, even. Marmalade is so bitter! Is it just me? Also, the recipe made two to three times more filling than was needed, which I realized early on, and yet I continued to follow the instructions, faithfully slathering way too much filling onto the dough and struggling to roll it up into cylinders because jam was overflowing all over the place. And doing this four times, with four pieces of dough.
Although if the filling didn’t contain marmalade, its overabundance wouldn’t have been such a problem. But that still wouldn’t have saved these little pastries from looking awfully silly and unrugelachish. Come to think of it, though, why go through all the bother of making the filling, with the walnuts and the dried fruit and the simmering and the pulsing? Why not just use store-bought jam and call it a day? Is that blasphemous? Yes. Forget I suggested that.
The husband really liked these though, or claims to have. He said they were like the best hamantaschen ever, since hamantaschen never have enough filling but hello, I believe mine did. And if I was going for hamantaschen I would’ve made hamantaschen, but I was going for rugelach. And since I only baked off one of these cylinders, I have three more taking up room in the freezer that I sort of don’t ever want to bake because they’ll just make me angry.
Whoops, how’d that slip in there? And no longer bitter. Well, maybe still a little bit bitter.
Orange-Apricot Rugelach, adapted slightly from Leite’s Culinaria
For the dough
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
- 1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 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
- 15 oz apricots (I didn’t have enough, so I threw in a few dates)
- Enough water to cover the apricots
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 12 oz orange marmalade, apricot jam, or maybe another jam, like strawberry
- 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 or yogurt and pulse just until the batter comes together into a rough dough.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, make the 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 or jam, and process again to form a paste. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two pans with parchment.
- Roll one portion of the dough into a rough 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 and repeat the process with the remaining portions of dough.
- 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 generously with sugar. Repeat with the other portions of dough, or keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to slice and bake.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden and crispy.
These stay good at room temperature for up to a week, but they get soft. Just out of the oven, they’re crunchy.
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