Every year I buy a calendar for our kitchen, so I can keep a track of who is doing what and when. This year my calendar purchase is all about the Great British Bake Off and one of the things I like about it, is that every month there is a different recipe to try out. That gave me the idea of doing the Great British Bake Off Calendar Challenge, where every month I will attempt to make the recipe for that month. Some of the recipes on the calendar seem relatively straight forward to make, others I have never heard of before and are not quite as straight forward. Anyway, this is a challenge I have set for myself and where would we all be if we didn’t challenge ourselves once in a while.
For the month of January, the recipe challenge is to make Rugelach. Rugelach is a Jewish pastry and made from a rich, sweet-cheese dough. This version is filled with a sweet, nutty mixture, making them rather like rich cookies and are perfect with a cup of coffee.
Ingredients ~ Makes 24
For The Sweet Cheese Pastry
275g plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
good pinch of fine sea salt
150g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
150g full-fat cream cheese
1 medium egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For The Filling
150g walnut pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
150g caster sugar
- Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter and mix until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add the cream cheese, with the egg yolk and vanilla essence and mix well until it comes together to make a firm dough. Remove the dough from the processor bowl, divide it into 3 equal portions and wrap them in clingfilm. Chill for an hour.
- Meanwhile, tip the walnuts onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes until a light golden colour. Turn the oven off. Leave the walnuts to cool, then put them into the food processor bowl with the cinnamon and sugar and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.
- When the Rugelach has chilled, unwrap one portion of the pastry dough. Divide the nut mixture into 6 equal portions and instead of using flour, sprinkle a portion of the nut mixture on the work top. Roll out the dough onto the nut mixture to a disc 26cm across. Using a sharp knife, cut the disc into 8 triangular wedges. Sprinkle another portion of the nut mixture on top of the dough and gently press it on to the surface.
- 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 curve it into a crescent shape and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other 7 triangles. Once this has been done, repeat the process with the remaining 2 portions of dough and when all have been shaped, chill for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes until the tips are just turning a light golden colour. Don’t over bake the Rugelach and let them get brown or they will be hard and dry. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container and eat within 3 days.
Even though my Rugelach could definitely be improved upon, I was fairly pleased with the final outcome. They were quite easy to make, tasted delicious and sweet and were extremely good with a cup of coffee. Let me know if you’ve ever made Rugelach and look out for next months calendar challenge, where I’ll be making a gluten-free fresh lemon tart. Yummy!
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