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Apricot and Pistachio Rugelach

Servings: Makes 2 1/2 dozen rugelach
What is Rugelach?

Definition: [RUHG-uh-luhkh] A Hanukkah tradition, rugalach are bite-size crescent-shaped cookies that can have any of several fillings including raisins (or other fruit) and nuts, poppy-seed paste or jam. They're generally made with a rich cream-cheese dough.

What a wonderful and delicious cookie for Rosh Hashanah or Hanukkah. Usually rugelach is filled with chopped walnuts but this recipe uses dried apricots and chopped pistachios for a lovely change.

Roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper which prevents sticking and tearing.

1/4 lb. cream cheese, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
8 tbsp. (1 stick/4 oz./113g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

For the Filling:
3/4 cup dried apricots, halved
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. finely chopped unsalted pistachios

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, butter, flour, granulated sugar and salt. Pulse just until the dough begins to clump together. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gather into a ball. Divide into 4 equal portions. Place each portion on a piece of plastic wrap, flatten slightly into a disk, wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours.

Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the apricots and water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit absorbs the water, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to the food processor and process to a fairly smooth puree. Pour into a bowl and stir in the granulated sugar, cinnamon and pistachios. Set aside.

Preheat an oven to 350°F/180°C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Lightly flour a work surface. Remove 1 disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll into a 7-inch circle. Spread one-fourth of the filling evenly over the top. Using a large knife, cut the dough into 6 wedges. Starting at the outside edge, gently roll up each wedge toward the point. (If needed, use a thin metal spatula to loosen the wedges from the work surface.) If the dough becomes too soft to roll, refrigerate for about 5 minutes to firm up.

As each piece is formed, place it at least 1 inch apart on one of the prepared baking sheets; bend the ends of the dough toward the center to form a crescent shape. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, flouring the work surface as needed.

Bake the rugelach until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the rugelach to the racks to cool completely. While still warm, use a fine-mesh sieve to dust the rugelach with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen rugelach.

Date: September 5, 2004