Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rugelach, How Do I Love Thee?

My husband, Dan, and I could not have more different culinary tastes. I think our different religious upbringings (his Jewish, mine Lutheran) have a lot to do with that.  That said, he has introduced me to some really incredible foods that, had I married a fellow Lutheran, I would never have experienced. Rugelach is among the things he brought into my life, and I can’t thank him enough for it.

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.

To see the recipe for rugelach, visit the blogs of Margaret and Jessica. Or, why not buy the book?


12 comments:

  1. Pear and ginger - that would've been a fantastic combination for the holidays! Good thinking. :)

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  2. I wish I had gone into this with some idea of what I was trying to bake! Glad that you already had known rugelach and loved it. I did like it though and now I can say I know what it is. Bummer it wasn't pretty, but that seems to be normal this week.

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  3. Ralph's? Really? I'll have to check them out the next time i go. YOur flavor combination sounds amazing!

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    1. Wendy, I revisited the Ralphs rugelach this week, and it was...different than the last time I had it. Maybe I got a funktastic batch, I don't know, but I can't in good culinary conscience recommend it any more!

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  4. Pear sounds like a great idea!

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  5. We still have a few Ralph's around here, so I will have to stop at one and see if they have rugelach and compare to the homemade. Pear preserves sound delicious for these cookies.

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    1. Elaine, the Ralphs rugelach I had this week was not on par with what I had previously. Be forewarned if you are brave enough to try it. :)

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  6. Those pear preserves just sound so good - and ginger was defintiely an inspired touch :-)

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  7. Great story to your Rugelach making!

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  8. I remember the scene! The pear preserves sound great as a spread!

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  9. Pear and ginger - such inspiration, a perfect match! I can imagine how good they were!

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