Saturday, 14 April 2012

Rugelach with Chocolate and Cherries

This momth's We Should Cocoa challenge is to pair cheese with chocolate! I was happy to use a little chocolate with goat's cheese for a savoury challenge a while back, but the only cheese which I think will work in sweet chocolate baking is cream cheese, and I'm guessing that most entrants to the challenge will use this too. I'd have liked to conjure up something using 'real' cheese, but my imagination just wasn't up to it!

Although they didn't really follow the rules of the faith once in this country, my parents-in-law were Jewish immigrants, escaping from Hitler's invasion of Eastern Europe. My mother-in-law was a great cook and her Jewish heritage still influenced the things she baked.
I rescued some of her cookery books from the house clearance after she died, so I've been interested in traditional Jewish baking for a while. Rugelach are a small croissant style pastry made with cream cheese in the dough, and with varied fillings, often including chocolate, which make them ideal for this challenge.

There are dozens of Rugelach recipes around, but most are very similar, although some recipes for the dough add sour cream and/or egg yolks. For a guideline on quantities and techniques, I used this recipe from Dorie Greenspan, although I only cut 12 pieces from each circle of dough.

As I was making the dough by hand, I brought the butter and cream cheese right up to room temperature, then chilled it for 24 hours before making the cookies.

The filling is all my own invention, although I dare say a trawl of every single recipe online would produce something similar. I used about 1/3 of a jar of dark chocolate spread; 100g dried cherries, finely chopped and steeped with two tablespoons of Kirsch and half a teaspoon of cinnamon; 100g of finely chopped milk chocolate (I thought the filling would need the sweetness of milk chocolate, but I still used a good quality chocolate with high cocoa solids(39%)) and 25g of finely chopped toasted hazelnuts. Half the chocolate spread was spread evenly over each pastry circle and the other ingredients sprinkled on top in turn, before cutting and rolling the wedges.

These little pastries were absolutely delicious and well worth all the fiddling about to make them. I only wish I'd doubled the recipe and made more, as we demolished the batch of 24 tiny crescents in one sitting! The filling was very tasty with the sweetness of the chocolate balanced by the sourness of the cherries. I almost didn't include the hazelnuts, but decided that the filling would need some crunch, and I was the correct in thinking that way!

We Should Cocoa is a monthly challenge co-hosted by Chele at Chocolate Teapot and Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog. Each month participants are given an ingredient (or method) which must be used in a chocolate product. The full rules are available here if you would like to join in. This month's challenge, to use cheese, was chosen by Choclette.

11 comments:

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

Beautiful! I haven't had these for years. My best friends grandma used to make them and I loved them!! Yours look so good and a great use of the chocolate/cheese thing!

Foodycat said...

These look absolutely gorgeous! I've never tried rugelach but I've been eyeing up Nigella's recipe in Feast for a long time!

I've had apple pies made with a cheddar crust before - I wonder if chocolate could be introduced to that sort of thing somehow?

Suelle said...

I hadn't thought of cheddar cheese pastry, Foodycat! I didn't got much further than eating cheese with fruitcake - my MiL always added chunks of chocolate to her fruit cakes.

Caroline said...

They look utterly delicious. I can just imagine how flaky and chocolatey they must be. What an excellent use of cream cheese!

MissCakeBaker said...

They look delicious and very moreish!

Katie said...

They look lovely. Your pastry looks wonderful light and flacky

Nicole said...

I love rugelach and this chocolate cherry combination sounds divine! I recently made some with apricots which were very good.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Delicious looking solution to the challenge. That filling sounds a really interesting combination.

Baking Addict said...

These are so cute! Great entry for we should cocoa.

Joanna @ Zeb Bakes said...

Wow those look good! You make some fabulous treats - I must look away before I am too distracted - love that combination of flavours Suelle!

Choclette said...

I've only come across rugelach recently and I've never eaten one. They sound thoroughly delicious and look quite stunning too. Suelly, you can always be relied on to come up with a real treat for WSC - thank you.