The Best Parts of Israeli, American & Eastern European Rugelach, Combined

November  1, 2015

This recipe comes to use from Miro Uskokovic, the pastry chef at New York's Gramercy Tavern, courtesy of Union Square Hospitality Group.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

Here's what Miro had to say about it:

"Coming from Eastern Europe, where most of the beloved Jewish pastries originated, I always enjoyed rugelach and similar cookies. My mother’s best friend was Hungarian, and she use to make delicious rugelach cookies at Christmastime. She would make two different doughs, one plain and one chocolate-flavored, and she would swirl it together in beautiful roll stuffed with prune jam. I loved going to their home during holidays just for this dessert.

"When I came to America, I learned about cream cheese and how some Americans add it into rugelach dough. It is such a great way to still maintain flakiness, but add rich and bit tangy flavor to a tender rugelach dough. From a good friend of mine who is Israeli, I learned that traditional rugelach in Israel is always made with chocolate, while among American Jews it's made using jam.

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"As rugelach has always been a favorite of mine, I decided to take this classic dessert and put my spin on it. I combined the traditional American jam filling with the Israeli chocolate filling, and snuck in some Slivovitz (a prized Serbian plum brandy) to represent my Serbian heritage."

Do you have any recipes that represent your heritage so well? Tell us in the comments below!

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1 Comment

Christopher B. December 24, 2015
This shows the cookies baked on a cut side, I cooked them on a dough side. These are scrumptious.
The changes I made in the recipe:
After making the dough I divided it into two oblong pieces about 1/2" thick for chilling overnight.
I rolled out each half into a 10x16" square 1/8" thick. Cut that in half the long way, spread 1/4 of the filling on each half and rolled each half up tightly the long way, then divided each log into 8 cookies, followed recipe and placed on dough side rather than cut side on parchment lined cookie sheet, 16 cookies on each sheet and proceeded with recipe.
Really complicated but really worth it.