This take on rugelach results in moist slices that show a spiral of crust and filling.
Soy cream cheese has been a great addition to the kosher baker’s pantry, as it behaves like regular cream cheese in dairy-free desserts. You can always use regular, but not whipped, dairy cream cheese and unsalted butter in this recipe.
Make Ahead: The dough needs to be frozen for a few hours or up to overnight. The rugelach can be baked up to 3 days in advance. If you'd rather freeze for longer-term storage, cool the baked loaves but do not slice them.
Servings: 50 - 60 pieces
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) pareve margarine, at room temperature
- 8 ounces soy cream cheese, slightly softened (see headnote)
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup apricot jam or preserves
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted then coarsely chopped (see NOTE)
Combine the margarine, soy cream cheese, flour and confectioners' sugar in a food processor; work in batches as needed. Pulse until a ball of dough forms. Divide the dough in half and flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours or up to overnight.
To roll out the rugelach, remove the dough from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature until a finger pressed into the dough leaves an impression. Lay a large sheet of parchment on the counter and sprinkle it with flour. Unwrap one disk, sprinkle it with flour as well, then top it with a second large sheet of parchment paper. Working from the center, roll out the dough to form a rectangle that's about 10 inches by 15 inches. As you roll, peel back the parchment a few times to sprinkle more flour so the dough doesn't stick.
Spread half of the apricot jam or preserves evenly on the dough, to the edges.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle half of it on the jam or preserves, then scatter half of the chopped pecans on top. The filling should not be too thick; if it is, the dough might tear or break when you're rolling or as it bakes. If you have leftover filling, that's okay.
Fold in the short sides of the dough 1/2 inch toward the center to keep the filling contained. If desired, use the parchment to help you roll the long side of the dough, working slowly and rolling as tightly as you can, to form a loaf that's 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. The seam should be on the bottom; flatten the loaf slightly. Carefully transfer to the baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining disk of dough, jam or preserves, sugar-cinnamon mixture and pecans. Arrange the second loaf a few inches from, and parallel to, the first one. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the tops have lightly browned.
Cool; if serving within a few days, cut each loaf crosswise into 25 to 30 slices. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
NOTE: Toast the pecan halves by spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet; bake in a 325-degree oven until fragrant a lightly browned. Watch closely to avoid burning. Cool before chopping.
Adapted from Paula Shoyer, author of "The Kosher Baker" (Brandeis, 2010) and the upcoming "The Holiday Kosher Baker" (Sterling, November 2013). She is a regular contributor to www.jewishfoodexperience.com and can be found at www.paulaspastry.com.
Tested by Zofia Smardz.
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