Thursday, September 10, 2009

[Cookie 040] Prune Rugelach

Prune Rugelach

It is with a heavy heart and heavy cookie that I say adieu to summer--and Guten Tag! to autumn (my favorite season!). Summer was pretty swell, though, and I was able to make 27--count 'em: twenty-seven!--different cookie recipes from The Book during my time at home. Results varied, to be sure, but on the whole I think I made my family and friends very happy/weight-conscious. Mission accomplished.

DSC_0168.JPG

Anyway, I found it particularly interesting that I started and ended this summer's cookie madness with two of the best recipes I've come across in The Book thus far. Remember the legendary Pecan Bars? Well, the last cookie I made at home in sunny California was these delicious Prune Rugelach, which I dare say stand up quite well next to summer's first cookie.

DSC_0160.JPG

I chose this recipe to make with my dad, because we wanted to close the summer with a special, more involved recipe, and he had been eyeing these for several months. They definitely take a while to make, especially because you have to soak the prunes overnight, but on the whole the recipe isn't that crazy. And all the effort you put in is worth it in the end!

BUTTERButter for Prune Rugelach dough

We were a little confused in the beginning, however, with the procedure that Martha developed to make the dough. She has you combine cold butter with room-temperature cream cheese with your hands, but we found it easier to use 2 butter knives held like scissors (a pastry cutter would probably work just as well). Basically, the dough is just like a pie crust dough, and because my mother is the Queen of Apple Pies, I applied her techniques of pie crust composition to this dough. Success! The key is NOT OVERWORKING THE DOUGH, because the last thing you want is a dense dough combined with the already dense prune filling of the Rugelach. You want the dough to be light and flaky, and in order to achieve this you basically have to work the dough without touching it at all (Harry Potter, anyone?).

Dough for Prune Rugelach

Once you have the dough completed, you chill it in 2 batches for a while, and then roll it out flat and thin. This can be tricky, especially if you followed the directions and didn't overwork the dough, because then the dough should be fragile and break easily. Just work fast, and don't get too frustrated. It's gonna be a-ok!

Spreading the Prune filling
Prune Rugelach Pizza!Prune Rugelach dough

Then you spread out the prune filling that you made earlier, sprinkle on some sugar-breadcrumb mixture, slice the dough like a pizza, and roll roll roll. Sprinkle the cute little croissants with more sugar and cinnamon and chill them again. Then stick 'em in the oven. Then voila. That's the gist of it!

DSC_0151.JPG

Now, like many Martha recipes, we found that these cookies improved after they were 100% cooled. Don't get me wrong, they are delicious straight out of the oven, but let them cool so the dough can get flaky and crispy. Then eat them ALL!! AHHH!

So, in conclusion, these are fantastic. Fancy, yes. Fun, yes. Adorable, to be sure. And you should make them for a dinner party to impress your friends and family. But, alas, I won't be making too many super fancy cookies for a while, friends. Now that I am settled into my dorm, my budget is no longer as superfluous and my oven no longer as fantastic. But don't worry: I've already made 2 recipes here and they both were successes! So, here's to autumn! May it be filled with pumpkin, cinnamon, and ginger-flavored cookies!

DSC_0155.JPG

Prune Rugelach
Makes 32

Ingredients
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar (save 1/2 cup for prune filling)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs from soft white bread (save 1/2 cup for prune filling)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup prunes
  • 1/2 cup brandy

Directions
  1. Mix butter, cream cheese, and salt in a large bowl with hands until crumbly. Add flour, and mix until just combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide in half. Shape each half into a disk; wrap each disk in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Stir together breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Stir together remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in another small bowl; set aside.
  3. Roll 1 disk to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out a 12-inch circle. Brush beaten egg in a 1-inch border around circle. Put half the prune filling in center, and spread out to beaten egg border. Sprinkle 1/2 cup breadcrumb mixture over filling. Cut circle into 16 wedges. Starting at outside edge of each wedge, roll up into a crescent shape. Space 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining disk and filling. Refrigerate rugelach until cold, about 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake rugelach until golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks. Rugelach can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.
  5. To make filling: Put prunes and brandy in a small airtight container. Let soak at room temperature overnight. Drain prunes. Puree in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs and sugar. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 day ahead.

****

{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 4/5 (Don't be intimidated! This is totally do-able!!)
Ingredient Accessibility: 3/5
Tastiness: 4.75/5
Attractiveness: 4/5
Is it worth it?: Yes yes yes. Hard work totally pays off, 100%.

{Pairings}
Drink: Irish Breakfast Tea, or coffee.
Song: Fold -- Jose Gonzalez
Activity: Dinner party...something fancy! A celebration! End of summer fete!

12 comments:

Taylor said...

these look absolutely delicious! i'm so jealous of the people that get to eat these cookies every day, every week.

in response to your question, the cat and the bag is completely about the cat and the bag. i drew it right after i informed anne that kristina had revealed our secret.

Taylor said...

or discovered our secret, she promised she'd never reveal it!

Husband said...

Never seen or heard of these types of cookies. These are beautiful and look completely delicious.

Sophie said...

They came out flawless. There is an art to making pie crusts and delicate cookies like these. Yum, gorgeous and golden!

Jim said...

Nice post!

jfklds said...

these look soooooooooooooooooooo beautiful and i bet they're soooooooo delicious sooooooo delicious. i love rugalach sooooooooooooooooo much

Kim said...

These do look very tasty! I love the picture where they are cut into traingles - yum! Looks like a wonderful recipe.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

You really have a gift with a camera. I've always wanted to make rugelah, but have never done it.
I'm lazy, in some ways, when it comes to rolling out dough. If I had a kitchen partner...your family is going to have cookie withdrawals.
I look forward to seeing what you are going to bake next. Go, girl!

Barbara said...

I'm hungry.

Nurit said...

Oh goodness, this looks soooo good. Prune filling, never thought about that. I tried most anything else. Love love love this cookie!!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Your cookies are always a wonderful inspiration to me, Lizzie, and these are no exception - I almost drooled when I looked at the first photo. Beautiful!

jfklds said...

you're amazing