Oddly, my favorite rugelach west of the Mississippi is the apple rugelach from Ralphs, the West Coast arm of the Midwestern Kroeger chain. Ralphs was featured in the opening scene of The Big Lebowski, when Jeff Bridges (as the Dude) shuffles through the supermarket clad in a ratty bathrobe and slippers in search of half-and-half, which he opens, drinks from then pays for with a check. The Ralphs rugelach is tender, flaky and sweet and pretty much anything one could want in a piece of rugelach. I sought to duplicate that with my rugelach. I came close with the taste, but not the presentation.
I substituted pears for apples. I found great chunky pear preserves at the Gelsons market in Northridge, days before it closed for good. These pear preserves are naturally sweet and contain no added sugar. Do you know how hard it is to find pear preserves, any preserves, really, without added sugar? It’s hard. I wish I could have photographed these pear rugelach, but, alas, while they were tasty, they were not pretty. I added a pinch of ground ginger to the filling, which was a pretty good idea, if I do say so myself.
The original recipe in Baking with Julia calls for either prune or apricot butter as the filling. I set up being picky in the first paragraph, so when I tell you I abide neither prune nor apricot, you cannot be surprised.