A Rugelach Experiment

A teaser: I’m getting a new camera lens (finally), and will be celebrating by going super-traditional in two weeks – keep an eye out for a seriously historical post. Meantime, here’s a little newfangled something I tried out: gorgonzola-fig rugelach.


Yes, these are probably the most goyische rugelach ever. They also happen to be delicious.  I guess they also, in a way, combine my Jewish and Italian heritage into a single delicious biscuit.

I started thinking about rugelach several weeks ago when I had great success revamping apricot bars. Rugelach are traditionally made with a butter-cream cheese dough, rolled around a filling – raspberry jam, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, nuts, or some combination of the above. My rum-raisin experience and the profusion of exciting jams I’ve seen around Brooklyn inspired me to try switching up that filling rotation. And then I got a really crazy idea: the dough uses cream cheese – why not switch up that up as well?

I adore blue cheese, and especially love it in combination with figs – so, I whipped up this recipe. I happened to realized halfway through making these that I was nearly out of white flour; thankfully, I had some whole wheat on hand – and it worked really well to bring out the nuttiness of the blue cheese I used.  Don’t worry, these have enough cheese that the healthiness of the whole wheat is totally counterbalanced by fat.  Enjoy!

Gorgonzola-Fig Rugelach (Makes 36)

For the dough:
1 c. white flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
5 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz. gorgonzola dolce (or other creamy blue cheese)

For the filling:
1 1/4 c. dried figs
1/2 c. bourbon
2-3 tbsp. agave syrup

1 egg, mixed well
Granulated sugar, for dusting

1. To make the filling: Combine the figs and bourbon in an airtight container and let sit overnight. Drain the figs when ready to use them, and puree them with the syrup in a food processor. They should reach the consistency of a thick jam; if the filling is too paste-like when first processed, add more syrup gradually, in half-teaspoon increments, until it is more spreadable.
2. To make the dough: Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and cheeses until fluffy and blended. Keep the mixer on a slow speed and add the flours gradually, just until the dough is blended. Divide the dough into 3 parts; flatten each piece of dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets by covering them with parchment paper.
4. Roll one of the dough discs out so it’s 10-12 inches in diameter and just under 1/4 inch thick. Spread one-third of the fig filling around the dough disc, leaving a 2-inch circle bare in the middle, and spreading to about one inch from the edges of the disc.
5. Cut the dough circle into 12 slices. Starting from the outside of the circle, roll each wedge in to the center. Place the rolled-up cookie on a baking sheet with the point tucked under. Repeat until all wedges are rolled up. Then repeat with the last two dough discs.
6. Brush the top of each cookie with egg, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the edges and bottoms of the cookies are golden. Cool on a rack before serving.