Traditional rugelach, which I have blogged about before, are Jewish cookies made of a cream cheese pastry topped with a sweet filling of jam, nuts, chocolate, or cinnamon sugar and rolled into distinctive croissant like shapes. This recipe is an innovative variation on that popular and delicious cookie. Instead of a sweet dough and filling, the cream cheese dough is made with herbs, and is rolled up with toasted pine nuts and black olive tapenade. The finished cookies can be eaten warm or room temperature as very addicting appetizers at a cocktail or dinner party. They can be made ahead and frozen. I love the idea of making savoury versions of traditionally sweet foods, and could see all kinds of flavour combinations in place of the tapenade, pine nut and herb combination used here....ie dill and smoked salmon rugelach,fig and goat cheese rugelach....the possibilities are endless!
This recipe uses 1/2 a block of cream cheese and makes about 16 rugelach...for a big party the recipe is easy to double.
Savoury Rugelach with Pine Nuts and Tapenade
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup cream cheese, softened
- About 1/2 cup olive tapenade
- About 1/ cup pine nuts
1. Whisk together flour, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
2. Beat together butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix at a low speed until a soft dough forms. Gather dough into a ball, then halve dough, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Flatten each half, in plastic wrap, forming a 4-inch disk. Refrigerate for six hours to allow gluten in dough to relax (I left it for only 2 hours dough was fine).
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
4. Starting with one disk of dough, roll dough on a floured board into a 9’ round. Spread tapenade evenly over dough (spread thinly it doesn’t need a lot.). Sprinkle with pine nuts. Cut the round of dough into 16 wedges.
5. Beginning at base of wedge, roll up dough as tightly as possible toward point and transfer point side down to an unlined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and tapenade, arranging wedges f dough 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Dough can be made one day ahead.
Can be served either warm or cold, reheat if desired at 325 for 10-12 min.
Adapted From: “Gourmet Today” ed. Ruth Reichl