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

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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.

"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."

Prune and Chocolate Rugelach

Prune and Chocolate Rugelach

Food52 Food52
Makes about 30 to 40 cookies

For the fudge sauce:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the dough, prune jam, and assembly:

  • 2 sticks butter, cut in chunks and kept cold
  • 9 ounces sticks cream cheese, cut in chunks and kept cold
  • Generous pinch kosher salt
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups prunes
  • 1/4 cup Slivovitz [Editors' Note: We substituted brandy]
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fudge sauce (from above)
  • pinches salt
  • 8 ounces cocoa nibs
  • Melted, cooled butter, for coating cookies
  • Granulated sugar, for coating cookies
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Do you have any recipes that represent your heritage so well? Tell us in the comments below!

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Tags: Hanukkah, Holiday, Bake