Nan's Hands-Down Best RugelachUser Submitted Recipe
For the pastry:
1/2 pound sweet unsalted butter
1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
2 cups flour
1 egg white, for brushing dough before baking
For the filling:
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 T. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups raisins or for variation: 2 cups dried figs and 1/2 cups sundried cranberries
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 egg white for meringue
1 T. sugar for meringue
extra cinnamon to taste
raw large grain sugar like turbinado for garnishing before baking
1. With the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed in Cuisinart stand mixer until smooth. Lower speed to lowest setting. Add flour and salt, mix gently only until incorporated. Do not overmix. Divide dough into four pieces and refrigerate until firm.
2. Cook all filling ingredients, except walnuts, until the sugar has dissolved. Cool.
3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease it and set it aside. With the whisk attachment, beat the egg white meant for meringue on low speed until it is foamy. Add the 1 T. of sugar slowly then increase speed to high. Whip white until it is shiny and holds soft peaks. Set aside.
4. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll dough in equal parts of flour and sugar. Roll dough out to a circle 9 inches in diameter. Smooth 1/4 of the meringue over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon to taste. Sprinkle some of the filling mixture and walnuts over the meringue and press it down gently. Cut the circle in quarters, and then cut the quarters in half again to make eight triangles. Roll each rugelach up from the large end to the small pointed end. Place rugelach with the points tucked under on the prepared cookie sheet. Rest the cookies in the refrigerator until firm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Brush each cookie with egg white and sprinkle with raw, large grain sugar. Bake until the cookies are golden, 10 to 20 minutes depending on oven. Turn trays midway through baking to ensure even baking and double sheet pans if necessary to prevent bottoms of cookies from burning. Cool on a wire rack. Best if served fresh the same day.