I was obsessed with the GBBO last year, so I was pretty excited when I received the calendar for Christmas. As I jotted down important dates I took note of each recipe and looked at the variety. Some recipes I had never heard of and some I had tried before in some way or another.
The January recipe (Rugelach) really caught my eye, not least because it said it was best served alongside a cup of coffee. Now I have no idea if I’m pronouncing the name right when I say it aloud and as well as pronunciation, this recipe was also going to test my rolling skills.
I decided to make it last Wednesday. I had all the ingredients (with one substitution being dairy free butter) but I didn’t have a food processor to hand, so I decided to make it the old fashion way. Rubbing the flour and butter together took me back to food tech lessons at school, it was fun and nostalgic. Now I wasn’t sure if my dough was as hard as it really needed to be, but as it had to chill in the fridge for an hour, I thought it might be ok to work with.
The sugary sweet nut mixture was easy to make and smelt incredible, in fact I really wanted to eat a spoonful of that there and then. I resisted though and waited for the dough to be ready.
The recipe says to roll the dough onto the nut mixture instead of using flour and you should roll it in a circular shape. This was a bit tricky as the dough was sticking to my rolling pin quite a bit and I don’t really remember having rolled pastry into a circular shape before, so needless to say mine weren’t quite right. However, with the oval/rectangular shapes I did manage, I cut them into 8 triangular portions ready for the next stage.
The rolling of each individual triangular portion into a crescent shape went well, but if I was being judged on consistency, I definitely wouldn’t have won any marks with the famous GBBO judging duo.
I had a fair amount of the nut mixture left over (which could have been down to my dodgy electric scales) so as well as the nut mixture both on the outside and inside, I decided to sprinkle a bit more over the top before popping them into the oven for 20 minutes.
When the dinger went I could smell the sugar and cinnamon and could instantly see why it was recommended with coffee. Plus when I took them into work the next day, they went down so well that I was given the impression that perhaps it was one of my better bakes. So with the high praise from my colleagues I would say I did very well at this new recipe, even if I didn’t quite have all the kit or experience in pastry rolling. Next time though I will make sure I use a food processor to ensure the dough is as it should be and I’ll make sure I’ve practiced my circular rolling skills.
If you too would like to give this a go, then the recipe is below. Happy baking!
Rugelach (GBBO calendar recipe) – makes 24
For the sweet cheese pastry:
275g plain flour
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
Good pinch of fine sea salt
150g unsalted butter, chilled & diced
150g full-fat cream cheese
1 medium egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
150g walnut pieces
1½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon
150g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°c
In a food processor make the pastry by putting in the flour, sugar and salt and pulsing to combine
Add the butter and blitz the mixture until you get fine bread crumbs
Break up the cream cheese and add to the bowl along with the egg yolk and vanilla extract and then blitz until the mixture comes together to form a heavy firm dough.
Remove the dough from the food processor bowl and divide into 3 equal portions, wrap them in clingfilm and chill for an hour
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Tip the walnuts into a small baking dish or tin and toast in the heated oven for 5-7 minutes until a very light brown colour. You can turn off the oven for now and leave the walnuts until cold
Once the walnuts are cold, put them into the (clean) processor bowl with the cinnamon and sugar and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped and then set aside
When you are ready to shape the rugelach, unwrap one portion of pastry dough
Divide the nut mixture into 6 equal portions and instead of using the flour, sprinkle a portion of the nut mixture onto the worktop
Roll out the dough on the nut mixture to a disc 26cm across
Using a pizza wheel-cutter or large sharp knife, cut the disc into 8 triangular wedges (like a cake)
Sprinkle another portion of the nut mixture on top of the dough and gently press it on to the surface with your hand
Gently lift out one of the triangles and roll it up, starting from the short side and tucking the pointed end underneath when you reach it, then gently curve it into a crescent shape and set it on a baking tray lines with greaseproof paper
Repeat the above step with the other 7 triangles then cover lightly and chill while you roll out and shape the remaining 2 portions of dough
When all have been shaped, chill for 30 minutes
Heat the oven to 180°c, uncover the baking trays and bake the pastries for about 20 minutes until the tips are just turning s light golden colour – it’s important not to overcook the rugelach and let them get brown or they will be hard and dry
Transfer to a wire rack to cool and store in an airtight container. Best eaten within 3 days