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.
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.
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.
Roll the dough
Place the chilled dough on a generously floured surface.
Roll it into an 8″ x 12″ rectangle (more or less; don’t make yourself crazy trying to be exact).
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.
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.
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.
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.
You’ll make about 24 slices.
Put the pan of rugelach into the refrigerator while you preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the center.
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.
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.
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.
Bake, 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?
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.