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February 2021

Perfect Jam-filled Rugelach

Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach crescents plate

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to spend some time with friends in Israel during the Purim holiday, and one of the many highlights was exploring Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market, often referred to as "The Shuk". It is the largest market in Jerusalem with over 250 vendors selling everything from fruit and vegetables to specialty foods, and clothing to Judaica. It is without a doubt an experience that must be part of any visit to Jerusalem, filled with fascinating sounds, sights, and smells.  One of the more famous spots is the Marzipan Bakery, which some say has the best Rugelach in Israel, and based on the long lines, they may be right.

Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry that is crescent-shaped and bursting with any number of fillings – jam, cinnamon, nuts or chocolate. It comes in two distinct varieties - the first is built on a yeasted dough and most often found in Israel (and at the Marzipan bakery) and the second version, more common here in the States, is made from a dough that’s highly enriched with a combination of butter and cream cheese. This rugelach recipe, from Cook's Country, is light, flaky, and delicious - use your favorite fruit jam, or a combination of jams, to create a simply perfect filling.

Download Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach recipe

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (1¾ ounces) granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon table salt

6 ounces cream cheese, cut into 3 pieces and chilled

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces and chilled

¼ cup sour cream

⅔ cup raspberry and/or apricot jam, divided

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, optional

1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1-2 tablespoons demerara sugar

NOTES:

The demerara sugar adds a nice crunch to these rugelach, but they are still great without it. If you have packets of Sugar in the Raw at home, you can use those in place of the demerara. When brushing the rugelach with the egg wash, brush only a few cookies at a time and then sprinkle them with the demerara sugar immediately. If you brush the egg wash onto all the rugelach at once, it will begin to dry by the time you get to the last rugelach, and the sugar won’t stick. If your jam contains large chunks of fruit, process it in the food processor to a smooth, spreadable consistency before using it. Be sure to check for doneness at 25 minutes; the jam tends to accelerate browning on the bottoms of the rugelach.

  1. Process flour, granulated sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add cream cheese and pulse until large, irregularly sized chunks of cream cheese form with some small pieces interspersed throughout, about 5 pulses. Scatter butter over top and pulse until butter is size of large peas, 5 to 7 pulses.
  2. Add sour cream and process until dough forms little clumps that hold together when pinched with your fingers (dough will look crumbly), about 10 seconds.
  3. Transfer dough to clean counter and knead briefly until dough just comes together, about 3 turns. Divide dough in half (each piece should weigh about 11 ounces) and form each piece into 4-inch disk. Wrap disks individually with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  4. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll 1 dough disk into 12-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Using offset spatula, spread ⅓ cup jam evenly over entire surface of circle, sprinkle with finely chopped nuts if using. Using pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut through center of circle to form 16 equal wedges. Starting at wide edge of each wedge, roll dough toward point and transfer to prepared sheet, seam side down.
  5. Wipe counter clean, dust counter with additional flour, and repeat with remaining dough disk and remaining ⅓ cup jam. Arrange rugelach in 8 rows of four on sheet.
  6. Working with few rugelach at a time, brush tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on sheet, about 20 minutes. Serve.

Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach raspberry dough
Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach raspberry dough
Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach raspberry dough
Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach raspberry dough


Coffee Fennel-Rubbed Boneless Short Ribs with Roasted Celery Root Parsley Salad

Coffee Fennel-Rubbed Boneless Short Ribs Roasted Celery Root Parsley Salad

I found this recipe in a new cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen – Toast Oven Perfection.  I’m often cooking for two and my toaster oven speeds up the whole process and delivers the same results as a traditional oven. The boneless short ribs and celery root cook together on a quarter sheet pan and the whole meal comes together in about 40 minutes with just a few additional fresh ingredients.

Download Coffee Fennel-Rubbed Boneless Short Ribs Roasted Celery Root Parsley Salad recipe

2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1½ teaspoons ground fennel

1 teaspoon ground coffee

1 teaspoon packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon garlic powder

12 ounces boneless short ribs, 1½ to 2 inches thick and 4 to 5 inches long, trimmed

½ cup pomegranate seeds

½ cup fresh parsley leaves

1 teaspoon lemon juice

*Note: The thickness and marbling of boneless short ribs can vary; look for lean ribs cut from the chuck. Do not substitute bone-in English-style short ribs. Because they are cooked gently and not seared, the short ribs will be rosy throughout.

1. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and heat to 450 degrees. Combine fennel, coffee, sugar, garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Pat short ribs dry with paper towels, rub with 1 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle evenly with spice mixture. Arrange ribs on one half of the small sheet pan.

2. Toss celery root with 2 teaspoons oil, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper in bowl; transfer to the empty side of sheet pan and arrange in a single layer.

3. Roast until meat registers 120-125 degrees (for medium-rare) or 130-135 degrees (for medium) and celery root is tender, about 10-15 minutes, flipping ribs and tossing celery root halfway through roasting. Transfer short ribs to cutting board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest while preparing salad.

4. Transfer celery root to large bowl, add pomegranate seeds, parsley, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice short ribs thin and serve with salad.

Coffee Fennel-Rubbed Boneless Short Ribs Roasted Celery Root pan


Perfect Popovers with Strawberry Butter

Perfect Popovers basket

This "perfect" recipe is from the December / January 2009 issue of Cook’s Country magazine, and they really are spectacular. I’ve added an easy recipe for strawberry butter, because if you’ve had had the popovers at Neiman Marcus, you know that is how they are always served. The batter is easy to throw together, and they are great for a Sunday brunch.

Download Perfect Popovers Strawberry Butter recipe

Vegetable shortening, as needed

3 large eggs

2 cups low-fat milk, heated to 110 degrees

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 cups bread flour (all-purpose will also work)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Strawberry Butter

1 stick butter, softened

1/3 cup best quality strawberry preserves

*Note: Greasing the pans with shortening ensures the best release, but cooking spray may be substituted; do not use butter. To gauge the popovers’ progress without opening the oven door, use the oven light during baking. Bread flour makes for the highest and sturdiest popovers, but an equal amount of all-purpose flour may be substituted.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Grease interior of 6-cup popover pan with shortening, then dust lightly with flour. Whisk eggs until light and foamy in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in milk and butter until incorporated.
  3. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in large bowl. Whisk three-quarters of milk mixture into flour mixture until no lumps remain, then whisk in remaining milk mixture. Transfer batter to large measuring cup, cover with plastic, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. (Alternatively, batter can be refrigerated for 1 day. Bring to room temperature before proceeding with recipe.)
  4. After batter has rested, whisk to recombine, then pour into prepared popover pan (batter will not quite reach top of cups). Bake until just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Without opening oven door, decrease oven temperature to 300 degrees and continue to bake until popovers are golden brown all over, 35 to 40 minutes longer. Poke small hole in top of each popover with skewer and continue to bake until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer popover pan to wire rack. Poke again with skewer and let cool 2 minutes. Turn out popovers. Serve.
  5. Make Ahead: Once popovers have cooled completely, they can be stored at room temperature in zipper-lock bag for 2 days. To serve, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat popovers on rimmed baking sheet until crisp and heated through, 5 to 8 minutes.

For the Strawberry Butter

  1. Beat the butter with electric mixer for 1 minute until fluffy, add strawberry preserves and beat until combined. Serve at room temperature, refrigerate leftovers.

Perfect Popver Strawberry Butter
Perfect Popver Strawberry Butter