The American version of Rugelach, a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish pastry, typically contains butter and cream cheese, and occasionally sour cream. Classic European (and modern Israeli) rugelach are yeast-risen, but the cream cheese dough is much simpler to prepare; all the ingredients are thrown into a food processor. My twist features Greek yogurt in place of cream cheese. I adapted a recipe from the New York Times, filling the crescent-shaped cookies with raspberry jam, cinnamon-sugar, and chopped pecans. The Greek yogurt adds a lightness to the dough, which makes eating a whole lot of these flaky, delicious treats less guilt-inducing!
Greek Yogurt Rugelach
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup; 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
4 oz Greek yogurt or other thick yogurt, such as Skyr
2/3 cup raspberry jam
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans
1 teaspoon water
Granulated or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
1. Remove butter and yogurt from fridge to soften slightly, around 10 minutes. Cut butter into four pieces. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt. Place butter pieces and yogurt on top and pulse around 10 times, until just combined; don’t process so long that the dough forms a ball on the blade.
2. Form dough into a ball, and divide in half. Shape each half into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day.
3. To prepare the filling, heat up jam in the microwave or on the stove over low heat until liquefied. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar.
4. Line two baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Remove one disc of dough from the fridge, transfer to a lightly floured surface, and roll into an 11 or 12 inch circle. (If dough is too cold to roll out, let sit for 10 minutes.) Spoon or brush a thin layer of cooled, liquefied jam over the surface. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar and half the pecans. Repeat with second disc of dough.
5. Cut each circle into 16 triangles with a pizza cutter or knife. (Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 triangles.) Roll up the triangles, starting at the base, to form crescents. Place the crescents on the prepared baking sheets, points tucked under, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F. Combine egg and water in a small bowl, and brush a thin layer of glaze over the rugelach. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yields approximately 36 rugelach.