Here in New York, it looks like we're in for another damp, dreary day. Since it feels more like fall than spring, why not bake something delicious while waiting for the sun to return?
Below is a delicious recipe for rugalach, a traditional Jewish pastry, courtesy of Jane Ziegelman, author of 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement. Jane served these cookies at a recent Tenement Talks event--needless to say, they were a huge hit!
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ pounds butter
1 yeast cake or 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
3 egg yolks
½ cup milk
½ cup sour cream
1 lemon (juice and rind)
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups walnuts, chopped
½ cup yellow raisins, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
cinnamon to taste
Mix flour and butter thoroughly; add yeast which has been dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm milk; add egg yolks to the rest of the milk and add to the flour mixture. Now add the lemon juice and grated, sour cream and salt. This should be thoroughly blended until it forms a ball. Put in refrigerator over night.
Let dough come to room temperature. Combine walnuts, raisins, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Divide dough into four even pieces. Roll into a long narrow rectangle, ¼ inch thick. Spread lightly with apricot jam, then sprinkle evenly with nut mixture. Roll up, jelly roll style, brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake 30 minutes in moderate oven (350 degrees) or until nicely browned. When cool, slice in diagonal slices.
--adapted from the Jewish Centinel Cook Book, 1936