Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC
Rugelach are like miniature strudels, typically made with a white flour yeasted dough, laden with cream cheese and filled with a smear of jam, nuts, and sugar. This healthier, fruitier, low-fat, vegan, gluten-free riff on rugelach is nutrient dense and takes no time to make. The dough relies on buckwheat flour, Japanese sweet potato, and besan (gram flour), scented with spices and apricot paste. The filling is blended apricots (or figs or plums), with a medley of raisins, goldenberries, dried cherries, and cranberries, with a sprinkling of pine nuts and chopped pistachios, though you can use whatever dried fruits and nuts you like.
These tasty, nutritious morsels are fun and fast to make. They also freeze beautifully. The little bakers in your life will delight in rolling, sprinkling on the fillings, and folding the dough too.
Makes two 15” logs for 25 to 30 cut rugelach
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
1½ cups apricot paste from 2 cups unsulfured apricots
1 cup buckwheat flour
½ cup besan (Bengal gram flour, available in South Asian groceries) or chickpea flour
½ cup medium Japanese sweet potato (satsumaimo), pricked with a fork, microwaved or baked, then peeled while hot
1 tablespoon flaxseed, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon, freshly ground
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce, if needed
1 ½ cups mix dried berries, raisins, and/or other chopped dried fruit, soaked in water
¼ cup each cup of pine nuts
¼ cup pistachio nuts, chopped
¼ cup slivered almonds or chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375°F or 350° F for convection baking.
- In a small heatproof bowl add the apricots and just cover with water. Microwave for 2 minutes. Alternatively, simmer the apricots in a small pot on the stovetop for 5 minutes. Cool. Purée the softened apricots with its soaking water in a high-speed blender for a minute or until uniformly smooth with the consistency of soft jam.
- Cut any larger dried fruit into small pieces, about ¼”. Place all the small dried fruits in a bowl and cover with hot water to rehydrate and soften the fruit. Drain after 5 minutes.
- In a food processor bowl add the flours, ground flaxseed, Ceylon cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Pulse to mix. Add 4 tablespoons of the apricot paste.
- Cook the Japanese sweet potato until fork tender, about 4 minutes in a microwave, or 45 minutes in a 425°F oven. Peel while piping hot, quickly, mash and measure out ½ cup, and add immediately to the food processor. Run on high for at least 2 minutes or until the ingredients gather into a soft dough. If the mix is too dry and fails to gather, add applesauce, a tablespoon at a time and reprocess. If the mix is too soft and moist to gather, add buckwheat flour, a tablespoon at a time. The consistency of the dough should be soft and pliant, though not at all wet, much like Play-Doh.
- Lightly flour a board with buckwheat flour. Gather the dough and pat into a rectangular shape. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut in two halves. Wrap one up in plastic wrap as you make the first rugelach log.
- Roll out the first dough half to 1/8” in thickness, flipping it over as you roll and sprinkling a bit more flour if needed to prevent sticking. It should end up about 15” long and 7 to 8” wide.
- Use on offset spatula spread on a nice layer of apricot paste. Liberally sprinkle with half of the drained dried fruit. Now sprinkle the small or chopped nuts on top. Starting on the long horizontal edge, begin rolling up the rugelach, jelly-roll style. It should measure about 15” long, 2” wide, 1 ½” high, more or less. Use two icing spatulas slid under the roll to transfer it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave ample space for the second rugelach log.
- Use a sharp knife to cut slits that extend halfway through the long, every inch along the rugelach log. This is vent humidity and later to facilitate slicing into individual rugelach once it is baked.
- Thin ½ cup of the apricot paste with water, mixing it well. Using a pastry brush, apply a coat of this apricot glaze over the dough and its fruit filling. Now repeat steps 6 through 9 for the remaining half of dough and fillings. Space the two rugelach logs on the baking sheet about 2” apart.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet. Brush on another coat of apricot glaze over both rugelach logs and lightly cover with a piece of parchment paper to prevent the crust from over darkening as it continues to bake. Return the baking sheet to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. The rugelach are ready when their crusts are golden and a bit toasted on the edges, and the fillings is soft and juicy.
- Transfer the logs to a cooling rack. Glaze a final time with the apricot glaze. After 5 minutes, transfer to a board and cut each log through each slit to separate into individual rugelach.
These tasty rugelach will keep around a week, wrapped, in the fridge. They freeze beautifully if you bake them in advance of use. To reheat, defrost the tarts and then place them in a preheated 200°F oven for about 5 minutes or until well warmed through.