I recently asked my mother-in-law, Judy, to loan me her 1977 copy of “Craig Claiborne’s Favorites from The New York Times” Volume 3. It’s a tightly-written volume with no pictures but a lot of great stories and recipes. I’ve been reading it on the metro every morning on the way to work. When I spotted Rose Ehrlich’s recipe for Rugelach on page 148, I read every word and then closed the book in satisfaction. I had found the recipe I was going to make this weekend.
Rose, from Roselle, New Jersey, wrote to Craig in response to a recipe for a thin, crisp cookie called “rugelah." She and a host of other readers wanted to set the record straight that whatever that cookie was, it was not to be confused with the buttery, nutty, raisiny pastry called “rugelach.”
She sent along her recipe to Craig, which he reprinted. I have adapted it to reflect more accurate proportions (if you follow the recipe Craig published, you'll wind up with too much filling).
For the cream cheese pastry
½ pound butter
½ pound cream cheese
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
For the rugelach
Cream cheese pastry
¼ pound raisins
4 ounces walnuts
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup melted butter
Prepare the dough and let it chill overnight or for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Chop the raisins and the walnuts and combine in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and cinnamon and blend well. Set aside.
Divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Roll out one portion at a time into a circle.
Brush each circle as it is rolled with a little butter and sprinkle with part of the walnut mixture. Cut the circles into 8 or more pie-shaped wedges and roll (start rolling from the large side of each wedge toward the tip to enclose the filling).
Arrange them on a buttered baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter.
Bake for 22 minutes or until golden brown.