Make Ahead

Pumpkin Rugelach with Sage & Walnuts

January  4, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

My hearty little sage plant was the sole survivor of the long hot Texas summer. I'm constantly looking for ways to use the sage, and the idea for this savory rugelach struck me at 4:30 in the morning, when baby Henry woke up and needed a cuddle. In the morning, I googled "savory rugelach" and saw that the all-powerful Dorie Greenspan had blogged about this very idea years ago. This recipe was built using her tips for good rugelach, my filling, and a dough recipe I got when I married into my husband's family.

Note: If you have no patience for finely chopping the walnuts, you can pulse them in the food processor until they're tiny little nibs, and then use the food processor to make the dough. —arielleclementine

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO : arielleclementine lives in Austin, TX
WHAT : A wonderful surprise -- savory rugelach.
HOW : A tender, classic cream cheese dough is spread with a walnut-and-sage studded pumpkin filling that bursts with umami.
WHY WE LOVE IT : A little rich, and a lot addictive, these nibbly treats will be the star of your next cocktail party. —The Editors

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Makes 32 small rugelach
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped finely
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon aleppo or chile flakes
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (or squash or sweet potato puree)
  • 2 healthy pinches kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • flaky sea salt or finely shredded parmesan, for sprinkling
In This Recipe
  1. Prepare the dough. Cut the butter and cream cheese into tablespoon-sized pats and let soften for 10-15 minutes. Pulse the flour and salt in the food processor, and then add the semi-softened butter and cream cheese and pulse several times, until the mixture has formed large crumbly chunks (this can also be done very easily with a pastry knife, if you've got a sleeping baby and don't want to use the food processor). Gather the dough together into two large balls, flatten into disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or up to overnight.
  2. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Toss in the chopped shallots, sage, and aleppo and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree and cook for 5 minutes more, to help evaporate some of the water in the pumpkin. Season with two healthy pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from the heat to cool down (the filling should not be hot when you spread it on the dough).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough has chilled, roll each disk into a 12" circle on a well-floured board. Make sure you flour the underside of the dough often, so that it doesn't stick. Spread half of the cooled pumpkin filling onto each disk, and then distribute half of the finely chopped walnuts over each disk. Using a bench scraper (or knife, or pizza cutter), cut the dough into 16 triangles. Roll up each triangle, starting from the base, to form a crescent, and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Beat the egg with a teaspoon of water and brush lightly onto the rugelach. Top each rugelach with flaky sea salt or finely grated parmesan (I prefer the sea salt, my husband prefers parmesan, so I make half of each kind). Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm, if possible.
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I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).