A new twist on rugelach: Best of Bakealong

A member of our unofficial Bakealong Hall of Fame, Rugelach struck a chord with thousands of bakers the first time we featured it back in October 2017. Now we’re bringing this Jewish-American pastry back for another star turn: this time with savory rather than sweet filling, and a new shaping technique that turns the classic crescent into a pretty spiral — and saves you time, as well.

Why fool around with a good thing? Well, precisely because rugelach are a good thing; a very good thing. Giving traditional rugelach dough a new savory filling (plus simplifying their shape) makes them the perfect summer accompaniment to pre-cookout drinks on the deck or a glass of wine before dinner.

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

My fellow blogger, Posie, took a deep dive into savory rugelach fillings last fall. I’ve taken a couple of her delicious ideas, combined them with a shaping method inspired by a reader’s comment on our first rugelach blog post, and come up with these savory appetizer rugelach.

There’s more than one way to enjoy rugelach. See this savory take on a classic Jewish-American dessert. Click To Tweet

Make the rugelach dough

First, make your pastry. Follow our Rugelach recipe. Divide the dough in half (rather than in three pieces), shape each half into a rough rectangle, wrap, and place in the fridge for about 60 minutes, so they’re nice and cold but not rock-hard.

Choose your fillings

While the dough is chilling, decide on your fillings. You can use all one filling, or several different combinations.

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

From all of Posie’s tantalizing suggestions, I’ve chosen a couple of simple cheese-based fillings: feta and chopped spinach, a riff on spanakopita; and a classic pairing, toasted pecans and cheddar.

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Roll the dough

Place the chilled dough on a generously floured surface.

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Roll it into an 8″ x 12″ rectangle (more or less; don’t make yourself crazy trying to be exact).A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

I’ll make the spinach and feta rugelach first. Since feta is fairly low in fat, I brush the dough with some melted butter for extra richness.

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Spread the filling atop the dough

I sprinkle the dough with 2 ounces each chopped spinach and crumbled feta cheese. I use frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry; finely chopped fresh spinach will work fine, too.

Again, don’t worry too much about exact amounts; just lay down a nice even layer of filling.A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Roll it all up

Roll the dough into a log, starting with a long edge. Tuck the long seam underneath when you’re done rolling, and pinch each end of the log shut.A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Slice the log

Cut the log into 1/2″ slices. Looping a piece of dental floss around the log and pulling the ends in opposite directions makes a nice clean cut. But use a knife if that’s more comfortable for you.A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

You’ll make about 24 slices.A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Place the rugelach on a baking sheet lined with parchment — not to prevent sticking, but for easiest cleanup. If you don’t have parchment, just place the slices on an ungreased baking sheet.

Put the pan of rugelach into the refrigerator while you preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the center.

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Bake the rugelach until golden

Bake the rugelach for 35 to 40 minutes, until they’re golden brown; you’ll probably see a bit of butter bubbling around their edges.

Remove the rugelach from the oven and let them cool right on the pan.

Shaping option #2: bake first, cut afterward

Let’s try a different shaping method for the remaining piece of dough and the pecan and cheddar filling. Since it’s chunkier than the spinach and feta filling and more liable to fall out of the dough during shaping and cutting, I’ll try to try a technique that helps keep the filling in place.

Roll the dough into an 8″ x 18″ rectangle. Or, for easier handling, divide the dough in half and roll each half into a generous 8″ x 8″ square.

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Roll the dough, add the filling

Since cheddar cheese is quite high in fat, there’s no need to brush the dough with butter. Simply spread the dough with a thick layer of grated sharp cheddar and chopped toasted pecans. I use 4 ounces (about 1 cup) of each, total; if you’ve divided your second piece of dough in half, use half of the filling for each piece.

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Encase the filling

Roll the dough into log(s), same as with the spinach rugelach; long seam on the bottom, ends pinched shut. Place them on a baking sheet.

I’ll bake the logs and then cut them afterward, which will effectively keep the filling inside where it belongs. I score one log into 1″ pieces to see if it helps with the eventual slicing.

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflourBake, slice… enjoy!

Bake the logs for 40 to 45 minutes, until they’re nicely browned.

Remove them from the oven, and let them rest on the pan for about 5 minutes, or until you can handle them without burning your fingers. Carefully cut them into slices.

The verdict on the scoring? No need, both logs slice easily enough. In fact, not scoring gives you the option to cut the baked slices whatever size you want.

Are you ready to try some savory rugelach?

A new twist on rugelach via @kingarthurflour

Let’s roll!

Never made rugelach before? Here’s a great place to start. The basic dough can easily go either way: sweet for dessert, savory for appetizers or snacks. Either way, these buttery, flaky pastries are decadently good — and eminently customizable.

Be sure to check out our original Rugelach Bakealong blog post, where you’ll find lots of good information and step-by-step photos for preparing the dough.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Amanda

    Is this dough able to be made ahead? I’d like to be able to make it the night before actually using it.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Absolutely, Amanda. Keep it wrapped in the fridge overnight. When you go to roll it, you’ll want to let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes or so to soften up slightly. No one wants to roll a rock of dough! Annabelle@KAF

  2. Emily Barre

    Annabelle,
    I have the second batch in the oven and I can’t wait to try them. I have a question about freezing them after being baked. I saw where you replied to Sarah that they should thaw wrapped in the fridge overnight. Do you warm them or serve them room temp? I did the spinach and feta one and my daughter’s baby shower is next week so I would like to freeze them. This is my first time making savory rugelach. I know the sweet ones were better at room temp. but I don’t know how to serve the savory.
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Emily, we especially like serving savory rugelach slightly warm (cheese is almost always more delicious if it’s warm!), but they’ll still be tasty if they’re room temperature too. Since you’re serving them at an event, you might want to warm them up in a low oven right before people arrive and then turn off the oven and crack the door. They’ll stay warm and you can take out as many as you need at a time. They’re going to be a hit! Kye@KAF

  3. sarah

    Can these be made and then frozen prior to baking? Sounds like a great quick app to keep stocked in the freezer for last minute patio get togethers.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Absolutely, Sarah. In PJ’s words from the original Rugelach article: “Both the rugelach dough and shaped, unbaked rugelach can be made ahead, wrapped, airtight, and frozen up to 4 weeks before using. For best results, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, wrapped, before using.” Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  4. Margy

    I have always made my rugelach by this method (many of the local bakeries do also). It goes faster, and I just can’t deal with the fiddly cutting out and rolling of the crescent shape. No one has ever complained (’cause their mouths were too full!). 🙂

    Reply
  5. Emily Barre

    PJ, these look wonderful! I have a question as a learning baker, when is it OK to use a silpat instead of parchment paper? I noticed you said it made for easy clean-up in this case, that it was a not a sticking issue, but I’ve become routine with the silpat and baking sheet combo for clean up and making sure all my goodies don’t stick. Does the silpat impair any browning or cooking method that I should be aware ?
    Curious minds need to know!!
    Thanks for the challenge and the fun that I look forward to every month.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so glad you’re eager to bake these, Emily! Your silpat will be perfectly fine. Sometimes there’s a (very) slight difference in browning when you compare silpats and parchment next to each other. Things higher in fat may brown more with the silpat, and things high in sugar may brown less with a silpat because it’s insulating some of the heat. It’s such a slight difference, there’s no need to worry about making adjustments. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

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