November 18, 2013
Thanksgivingukkah. Hanukkahgiving. Call it what you will, this boils down to being the greatest mash-up of food-related holidays of all time, and I could not BE more excited about it.
Loads of folks all over the internet have already blogged about the potential glories of said holiday menu, and I was particularly intrigued by the idea of pecan pie rugelach. I tackled traditional rugelach, with its cream cheese dough & hearty dried fruit filling last December, so I decided to take that dough recipe and combine it with a scaled-down version of my tried-and-true pecan pie filling.
Final verdict? They’re freaking delicious. Even Jill wanted seconds, and she never does that with sweet stuff. She doesn’t even like pecan pie! And several of my Jewish colleagues at work gave me their blessing after the entire container of leftovers disappeared in a matter of minutes. I’ll be making them again next week fo sho. (Check out last year’s Thanksgiving post for more recipes.)
I’ve a tremendous amount to be thankful for this year, and I hope the same is true for each of you. Wishing you all a holiday filled with joy and connection!
PECAN PIE RUGELACH RECIPE
Like so many delicious things that come our way this time of year, these are not simple, quick, or healthy. They are decadent, delicious, a little bit of a project, and totally worth it.
for the dough:
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
scant ¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups flour
½ tsp. salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt together at medium speed until smooth. Turning the mixer down to medium-low, add the sugar and continue beating for a few minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, mixing until the dough just comes together.
With floured hands, divide the dough up into two balls, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
for the filling:
2 cups pecans, finely chopped
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
¼ cup sorghum (substitute molasses for deeper flavor, maple syrup for lighter)
splash of bourbon
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. vanilla
3 T butter, divided
Place the pecans in a large, sturdy mixing bowl. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, sorghum, bourbon, and salt in a nonstick saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before thoroughly beating in the egg, then pouring the entire mixture over the chopped pecans.
Remove dough from the refrigerator approximately 20-30 minutes before you’d like to roll it out. Check in on it as it’s softening; there’s a sweet spot to be on the lookout for. Too cold, and the dough will crack when you try to roll it; too soft, and it will fall apart when you roll your rugelach.
Preheat your oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat 1 egg with a bit of water and set it aside, along with a pastry brush. Fill a small bowl with a few tablespoons of raw/Demerara sugar and another small bowl with a few teaspoons of flaky sea salt.
Flour your work surface heavily and roll the first dough half out into a rough circle (it does not have to be perfect, I promise!) around ¼ inch thick. If it’s warmed up too much at this point, you can move it back into the fridge—or even the freezer—for a few minutes, but I didn’t find this necessary. Just work quickly to get these babies rolled up and in the oven!
Gently spread half the pecan pie filling out onto the dough with a spatula. It’s probably going to seem like there isn’t enough filling but there is, I promise; you don’t want a lot. Thinly spread is good. You can even use your fingers to make distributing the filling easier.
Using a pizza cutter or bench scraper, cut the covered dough into long, thin, triangle-shaped wedges, as if you were cutting a pizza. Once you’ve cut all the way around, roll up each rugelach, starting with the widest, outer end and working toward the inner, narrow point. Place onto the parchment-covered cookie sheets, and when they’re all rolled up, brush each one with a little egg wash. Sprinkle generously with sugar, then go back and sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of sea salt. Trust me, the sea salt makes alllll the difference.
Bake for ~20 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks and serve, or store in an airtight container for a few days, or until you eat them all.