Apple Crumb Rugelach
Updated: Sep 21, 2020
All the flavors of your favorite apple crumb pie rolled in a rugel!
This is a mashup of two iconic American and Jewish desserts: apple crumb pie and rugelach, respectively. Apple butter replaces the traditional apricot or raspberry jam filling, dried apple chips - which moisten during baking - replace the raisins, and a streusel tops the crescent cookies for that apple crumb pie finish. Make these when the Jewish new year falls late on the calendar in autumn, or serve them at Thanksgiving as an alternative to apple pie. You might want to make a double batch of the streusel to add to anything and everything, from muffins and quick breads to cakes and cookies.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; hand or standing mixer; plastic wrap; food processor; rubber spatula; small saucepan; fork; baking sheet; pizza cutter (optional); pastry brush; spatula
Dough Ingredients: 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
2 cups flour
Filling Ingredients: 1 cup apple butter 2 cups dried apple chips, crushed ¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted ¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Streusel Ingredients: 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
1. Using a hand or standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and blend well. Add the flour and mix until just combined (do NOT overbeat). On a floured cutting board, roll the dough into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters and shape each quarter into a disc. Wrap each piece in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, prep the filling ingredients by combining the apple chips, toasted walnuts, sugars, and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
"Dried apple chips are ideal because they moisten and thus reconstitute while baking, whereas fresh apples would be too juicy, negatively affecting the dough and the ultimate outcome."
3. To make the streusel topping, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat until just melted. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Using a fork, stir the dry ingredients into the cooled, melted butter and mix well to combine until the mixture begins to form crumbs. Set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator one disc at a time. Roll each ball of dough into a large circle, about 1/8-inch thick and 10-12 inches in diameter, on a floured cutting board. Spread the dough with ¼ cup apple butter and sprinkle evenly with ¾ cup apple chip-walnut mixture. Press lightly into the dough. Using a pizza cutter if you have one, cut the circle into 12-16 equal wedges. Roll each wedge, starting from the wide end and ending with the point, to form a crescent.
ILOC tip: the more narrow the wedge, the more elegant the crescent shape the rugelach will be, with more edges of filling exposed. Cutting 16 wedges will produce smaller but more elegant rugelach.
6. Brush each rugel with the beaten egg and sprinkle generously with the streusel. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a baking sheet, either greased or lined with parchment paper or a nonstick liner. Chill for 15 minutes before baking.
"Cream cheese-based dough is very sensitive and warms quickly as you fill, slice, and shape the rugelach. Chill the assembled cookies for at least 15 minutes up to overnight before baking to help hold the shape as the cookies bake."
7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
Store in an airtight container for up to one week.
Makes 48 - 64 rugelach.
"Rugelach are made by spreading a filling on triangular-shaped pieces of dough rolled into crescents, NOT by spreading filling on a large rectangular piece of dough, rolling it into a log and then slicing it. There's a right way to cook, a wrong way to cook, and then there's my way . . . because It's Lauren, of Course!"