Merry Poppy Christmas

Happy Rugelach Day! RUGELAAAAAACH yes indeed. One of my very very favorite pastry. I prefer rugelach much more than croissant – less pain in the @ss, soft and shiny and… mesmerizingly pretty. My vien’boss and friend, Lara introduced it to me – after i found a picture in a book and asked her about… she told me its also her big favorite.

Originally its coming from Poland and a popular ‘cookie’ in Jewish communities. For me its more a pastry as it builds up on a yeasty dough which i laminate with butter (just like a croissant) then two layeres of ‘stuffing’. This stuffing originally is chocolate (chocolate cake crumbs with melted chocolate) – i changed mine to a mouthwatering poppy seed paste. I love poppy seed as sweet deliciousness – i miss it big time as it really doesnt exist in the UK at all (very popular in Hungary especially in Christmas time). So i made a cherry-poppy stuffing to spread 2 layers down while shaping the rugelach.

Not gonna lie. Its a bit of a pain in the @ss to make this. So u think twice before u jump innit. And takes lots of time. Its more about time actually as i dont have a pastry break (machine to roll the dough out quickly) and the dough needs a break between each every rolling and folding. So it almost took one day. But now worth every minute i spent in the kitchen covered with flour all over. Turning our huge dining table into a vien sanctuary and dusting flour all over the place. It was fun – so i do share the method i was using – cause its not atomphysics. Warn you at the beggining – i was not following the intructions giving by Lara exactly EXACTLY. I skipped some steps and doing it in a ‘simple HOUSEWIFE’s way’ hahahahahahaha.

footnote: i use a proper authentic rugelach recipe which belongs to Lara. Promised to keep it secret so i cant share this one here. But i have another great one – almost no difference – i share it with you

RUGELACH: (also basic babka* dough)

  • 120 whole milk
  • vanilla
  • 20g fresh yeast
  • 280g plain flour
  • 220g cake flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 80g unsalted butter

Using all the ingredients make a smooth elastic dough – first warm up a bit the milk with the vanilla, mix in the yeast. All can happen in a standing mixer but also do by hand if you are not afraid of a bit of a sweat. Next add the flours, eggs, sugar, salt and butter in pinches. 4-6 minutes of streching and tearing and folding (or medium speed in your standing mix with a bread hook) and the dough is done. Let it rest for 30 minutes before pressing it into a rectangle shape, cover with a plastic wrap and leave it to chill overnight in your fridge.

LAMINATING:

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • flour for dusting

I was cheating a bit with the lamination part of the dough. After chilling overnight you get your dough out and roll into a rectangle. Press your butter into a square shape – exactly half of the size of your dough so you will be able to wrap your dought nicely around your butter.

ATTENTION!!!! Here is where i f*cked up my dough – try not to make the same mistake. Take your butter out from the fridge the night before. Basically you want to have your dough in the same temperature than your butter – which will make it possible to roll the two things out smoothly. If the butter is too soft it melts away instead of getting into nice thin layers. If the butter is too cold – like it was in my case – it will break into pieces and stay thick while the soft dought getting thinner and bigger in size overlapping the small square of butter. Anyway – because i wasnt making croissants i still allowed myself to finish the rugelach as the layers are important but not as crucial. U can see on my photo what i meant of broken butter layer.

So you wrap the square butter first from two sides and roll it into a long rectangle again. Should be as thin as you can really – when i was using a pastry break (lamination machine) i went down approx. 6 mm thickness. But of course in my dining table with a huge rolling pin i just went as far as i could. Then do the first simple fold. Just fold 1/3 of the dough inside then fold the other 1/3 from the other end on the top of the first folded 1/3. Just like a business letter. This is the simple fold. Now wrap your dough and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Rest is necessary becasue we are ‘violating’ the gluten in the dough by streching. Needs a bit of a break so it can develop its flexibility with perfection.

After 30 minutes sleep – roll it out to a rectangle again as thin as possible in your kitchen table (dont be afraid of using flour). I was doing a double fold to finish the butter lamination. You can always just do another simple fold if you find it easier. The double fold is when you have your rectangle and lets say you fold 1/5 part in from the right side. Then from the left side you fold the other 4/5 part in precisely so the two ends will touch each other. After this you get the left side again and fold the whole dought fully like closing a book. This is a double fold – this is what we use for making croissants also. But as i said before – you can just repeat the first single fold second time and will do the job. Now wrap the dough again and let it rest for another 30 minutes in the fridge before we jump to the poppy seed chapter.

POPPY SEED SPREAD:

  • 220g poppy seed freshly milled into flour
  • 315 whole milk
  • 100 sugar
  • lemon zest
  • 20g cherry jam

Warm up the milk with the sugar till almost boiling point then pour over the poppy seed, mixed in the jam and the freshly grated lemon zest. Let it chill in the fridge ideally overnight but minimum till the seeds absorb all the liquid and become fully cold and thick. You dont want to drown your beautiflly laminated rugelach in some overflowing wet mix.

Get your dough out from the fridge and again – roll out long to a rectangle – as long and thin as u can. Having your poppy paste done – using a spoon or spatula spread a thin layer into 2/3 part of the dough from one end. When you done – first fold the clean 1/3 end inside to the middle then fold the other end on the top of it. Thats it. First round done. Let the dough rest again 30 minutes.

(i know i know shit lots of waiting time but its perfect to pour some gorgeous wine and have some great chat with your friends or family)

Last fold – repeat the same process what u ve just done before with the poppy seed spread. Roll the dough to a long rectangle and spread the left of the filling paste again to 2/3 of the dough and first fold the clean 1/3 part then fold the other side on the top of the first layer. DONE. DONE!!!!!! All the folding and laminating done – great job – u are very passionate if still here with me. :)

But unfortunately we need one more – and last resting time in the fridge before shaping. Meanwhile clean everything done – we still need the table with some flour on it. I make some traditional rugelach shape (mini croissants) but also a big rugelach roll-cake while i proof together the dough and bake into one big giant pastry.

When resting is done – again – roll the dough into a regtangle as thin as you can – because all the poppy layeres the color will look pretty funky – like plenty of ants being rolled inside. I spread the dough out to 30 cm wide so i can half it in the middle and having good size both for the croissants and rolls.

I know you must hate me at this point… because its time to wait (again) for the final proofing. I arrange my rolls into the cake tin (buttered and sugared) and my mini croissants in an upsidedown tray with parchment paper. Cover them to prevent drying out and leave it in a warm place. aiming for double size, approx 1-1,5 hours.

Pre-heat the oven for 170 degrees and egg wash the pastries. Bake them for about 15-20 minutes, checking frequently. The roll cake needed an extra 10-13 minutes and covered with a film to prevent ‘sunburn’. I took it out when the middle temperature reached 88 degrees.

The traditional shine is just 1:1 sugar syrup after taking the rugelach out from the oven (while still hot), i made a glaze by reducing cherry wine with some muscovado sugar. Was just mindblowingly delicious, and beacuse you brush them while still hot – wont stay sticky but creates a marvellous shine.

Please try it while its still warm, as you worked very hard and i want you to feel the joy and be freakin proud of yourself.

If you like challenges – stay with me as i will bake some gorgeous BABKA tomorrow (using the same dough recipe) and will make it supersexy. Just like we are. xxx

3 responses to “Merry Poppy Christmas”

  1. […] beautiful leaving gift ever: a proper pastry book (full of exotic sexy sweetporn). After trying my christmas poppy rugelach – i jumped to make an ‘easy babka’ this […]

  2. That looks just wonderful šŸ˜Š

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