We have very generous neighbors, they bring us delicious fresh ricotta, farm fresh eggs, jarred tomatoes and their own wine. I am always at a loss as to what I can give them as a treat to return the favor and at this point, they may be tired of my banana bread, though who could ever tire of banana bread?
I had made rugelach for the first time for my Rosh Hashanah feast and after realizing that even though they appeared to be a complete disaster, they were actually delicious and not as ugly as I had feared that they would be. I decided that I would give it a try again, doubled the recipe for an army and made apricot and rasberry rugelach for all of my neighbors and the teachers at my daughter’s school.
Who knows if they ate them, Italians have blinders when it comes to food, the batch that I made for my own family have been sitting there and I can attest to the fact that they are delish, I ate several during the cooling process.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup apricot preserves or raspberry jam
- 1 cup loosely packed golden raisins, chopped
- 1 1/4 cups walnuts (1/4 lb), finely chopped
- Milk for brushing cookies
Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined well. Add flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Gather dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then flatten (in wrap) into a roughly 7- by 5-inch rectangle. Chill until firm, 8 to 24 hours.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-inch-deep large shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
Cut dough into 4 pieces. Chill 3 pieces, wrapped in plastic wrap, and roll out remaining piece into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer dough to a sheet of parchment, then transfer to a tray and chill while rolling out remaining dough in same manner, transferring each to another sheet of parchment and stacking on tray.
Whisk 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon.
Arrange 1 dough rectangle on work surface with a long side nearest you. Spread 1/4 cup preserves evenly over dough with offset spatula. Sprinkle 1/4 cup raisins and a rounded 1/4 cup walnuts over jam, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar.
Using parchment as an aid, roll up dough tightly into a log. Place, seam side down, in lined baking pan, then pinch ends closed and tuck underneath. Make 3 more logs in same manner and arrange 1 inch apart in pan. Brush logs with milk and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of remaining granulated sugar. With a sharp large knife, make 3/4-inch-deep cuts crosswise in dough (not all the way through) at 1-inch intervals. (If dough is too soft to cut, chill until firmer, 20 to 30 minutes.)
Bake until golden, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool to warm in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes, then transfer logs to a cutting board and slice cookies all the way through.
Six Years Ago: Cotolleta alla Milanese, Polpo alla Luciana, Calamarata with Octopus Heads and Clams, Ligurian Shop Windows, Puntarelle, Ristorante in Lavagna, Spaghetti with Calamari and Artichokes & Cornetto Salato with Prosciutto di San Daniele