Rugelach is a classic deli cookie that truly reminds me of my East Coast upbringing. A popular Polish dessert recipe, these cookies go with anything from special occasions to your morning cup of coffee. The traditional recipe calls for raspberry jam and walnuts, but I'm giving these a little twist by using apricots and pistachios instead. Yum!
Vegan Apricot & Pistachio Rugelach
(Makes 2 dozen)
For the dough -
1 cup Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
1 8-ounce carton of vegan cream cheese (I suggest Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese.)
1 cup flour
For the filling -
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into halves
1 cup water
2 tablespoons of soy milk (to be used as an 'egg wash')
1) In a large bowl, mix margarine, cream cheese, and flour. Take out dough onto a floured surface and roll into a ball. Cut into quarters and shape each quarter into a disc before wrapping in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2) Meanwhile, prepare the apricot for the filling. In a small saucepan, combine dried apricots and water, on low heat. Stir occasionally until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Cool briefly, then puree in a food processor until smooth.
3) In a separate bowl, combine the 6 tablespoons of white sugar, the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pistachios. Set aside 3 teaspoons of this mixture for later.
4) When the dough is chilled, remove one disc at a time and roll out into a circle on a well-floured surface or between 2 sheets of wax paper, until about 1/8" thick (approximately a 9-inch circle). Spread 1/4 of the apricot puree in a thin layer over the circle, leaving a 1/2" border on the edges. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 of the sugar and nuts mixture. Gently press the nuts into the dough to help it stay. (Your dough should look kind of like a pizza now.)
5) Using a pizza cutter or a knife, divide circle into 12 equal wedges. To help make them even, divide circle into quarters first, then divide each quarter into 3 wedges.
6) Gently remove one wedge at a time, using a spatula as necessary, and roll from the wide end towards the pointy end to make a pastry crescent. Set onto a baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment or wax paper, with the seam side down, 1 inch apart from one another. You can curve the points on either side to get a more crescent shape if you would like. Chill for 30 minutes on the baking sheet in a refrigerator.
7) Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush each rugelach piece with soy milk, and sprinkle some additional sugar and nut mixture on top from the reserved portion.
8) Bake rugelach for about 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet, then carefully transfer over to a cooling rack, using a spatula to help as needed (the filling tends to bubble out and stick to the baking sheet, so do this before it cools and hardens).
9) Dust with confectioner's sugar if desired, or serve as is. Enjoy!