Dulce Figgy Pecan Rugelach

The paper sign reads “Rohlíček”; I’ve adapted to reading words and not understanding their meanings at this point, so my eyes continue to dance around the pastry case until they circle back to what  looks like a less voluminous croissant. The rolled pastry appears crisp and flaky,  but  also satiny, dusted in powdered sugar; I have a hunch that this is no befuddled croissant. Curiosity wins me over, eternally, and I choose the twisted pastry to accompany a shot of espresso at breakfast.

A few bites in, I’m oozing contentment as I taste nuts and fruitiness. Some moments and bites pass me by unnoticed while I rack my brain for the identity of this baked good. Remembering the characters on the sign, I attempt a few silent pronunciations in my mind until, my mouth spews RUGELACH. I scurry back towards the pastry case to check the sign once more, making sure the word resembles what I think it does, before excitedly proclaiming to my beloved companion “Oh my goodness, this is rugelach!” He doesn’t mind much; we’re in Prague, after all, and the prospect of pilsner has his full attention. That, and the full plate of English breakfast he’s hastily devouring. Meanwhile, I’m hot on the pastry trail. And content to keep at it.

Almost two years, plus many liters of pilsner later, and I’ve yet to taste another rugelach. Time to change that. We’re heading down a new path on the pastry trail today. Essentially we are making a flake-i-fied cookie dough, with the addition of cream cheese and sour cream for extra tenderness, and then covering that dough with a preserve, jam or fillling of your choice! You can use nuts, chocolate or dried fruit too; just pick a filling or combination of fillings that sounds most appetizing to you. I went for toasted pecans, because the smell of those reminds me of Christmas time, and candied figs, because, well, I think they’re delicious enough to elicit celebratory vibes.

The candied fig recipe came to me by way of Sarah Owens’ most recent cookbook called, “Toast & Jam.” This past summer , as part of her book tour, Sarah visited the bakery where I work and hosted a workshop about sourdough bread. I got to meet her, learn a thing or two about scoring loaves and support a real life bake queen role model (aka badass woman in food) by purchasing her book. It all felt really, really good. Her recipe is inspired by a moment she experienced in Ecuador, and infuses warming spices and soaked, fresh figs together in a dark, sweet syrup. Her story speaks of a salty cheese accompaniment, which I have yet to try, but, can you imagine a cheesy, figgy sweet and savory rugelach? If you need more inspiration, want to try Dulce de Higos or if you enjoy cookbooks, “Toast & Jam” should be at the top of your must-reads list. It has taught me a lot about preserving food and inspired many musings in my kitchen.

Pureed fig and toasted pecan filling. Crispy corner piece.

I hope you find time to bake some form of cookie and to cuddle up with a good book this holiday season! They are both highly effective varieties of self-care; so necessary this time of year. I would love to hear about your holiday bakes and rugelach filling flavors, if you feel like stopping by in the comments. Happy baking!

Crunchy coarse sparkling sugar
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Candied Fig Pecan Rugelach

A tangy cookie dough, lightly sweet and cinnamon, filled with candied figs and toasted pecans. Inspired by King Arthur Flour's rugelach recipe and Sarah Owen's Dulce de Higos.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Levantine
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 36 pieces
Author Chrystina

Ingredients

Dough

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 cup butter unsalted, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon ground
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sugar for sprinkling

Filling

  • 3/4 cup candied figs, pureed Recipe from "Toast & Jam"
  • 2 tablespoons candied fig syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups toasted pecans finely chopped

Instructions

Dough

  1. Beat together the butter, cream cheese, sour cream and salt with a stand mixer until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl a couple times. Add the vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in the flour and sugar to form a stiff dough. Divide the dough into three equal portions, forming smooth disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for 1-2 hours; until the dough is firm and cold.

Figgy Filling

  1. Put all of the figs and their syrup into a food processor and process until silky smooth. Pour the puree into a mixing bowl with the finely chopped and toasted pecans. Mix until the nuts are evenly distributed.

Assembly

  1. Flour your work surface liberally. Roll each disk into an even 10-inch circle. Smooth the edges of your dough together with your fingers if it begins to crack. Spread one-third of the filling onto each circle, lightly pressing it into the dough and all the way to the edge. Divide each circle into 12 even wedges by slicing with a pizza cutter or a long, sharp knife. Use a ruler if you would like. With each wedge, begin with the filling side facing up and orientated in front of you as an isosceles triangle. Slit the short side of the triangle, closest to you, with your blade about a half inch. Roll each flap up towards the tip of the triangle to create the traditional croissant shape. Place each rolled rugelach onto a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure the tip, or the tail, of the dough is tucked underneath the bottom side of your rugelach so that it doesn't unfurl. Refrigerate, covered with a towel, while the oven is pre-heating to 350.

Bake-off

  1. Once your oven is completely heated up, use a pastry brush to wash each rugelach with a beaten egg. Sprinkle the rugelachs with coarse sugar, or granulated, and bake for 25-35 minutes, until they are oh so golden brown. Let them cool on the pan until you are tempted to taste.

A dark beer and a bowl of rugelach
Christians Russian Imperial 10% ABV So roasty toasty and Rugelach

Vanilla Morning Cake With Poached Quince Fruit

chemex coffee pour-over behind a slice of cake
Morning Cake & Coffee
‘Tis the season to be folly, Fa-La-La, and sooo,  we eat cake for breakfast! Follow me in merry measure as I attempt to emulate the genius of two of my favorite baking sources in decking out a coffeecake for this cheerful season.

celebrate cake
Before making this cake, I had never made a coffeecake and I had never tasted poached quince fruit. First, I turn to David Leibovitz’s blog for general poaching ingredients and instructions, and then, King Arthur Flour, for an easy sour cream coffeecake recipe. I couldn’t help but embellish both recipes to embody the contrasts among a season of generosity and indulgence.

The starting point for this cake is part of my early mornin breakfast routine. Everyday I pour myself a big glass of Siggi’s filmjölk – don’t worry about pronouncing that, it’s Swedish – I just call it yogurt drank. I love the tangy, yet buttery flavor, subtle sweetness and thinner-than-yogurt-thicker-than-milk consistency, but also, I appreciate getting a healthy dose of protein first thing in the morning, and calcium too. Cultured milk is better for our bellies, acting as a probiotic. These 5 AM baker shifts require strength and stamina, so ya gotta fuel up those muscles and bones and, most importantly, arrive to work awake and alert! I can do that thanks to Siggis. Ya see, I love Filmjölk so much, I naturally craved experimenting with it in a baked good.

Still stuck on breakfast, the mind wonders, “Where’s the coffee though?”, my first priority in the mornings, if I’m being honest. So now we’ve got cultured milk and coffee getting to know one another. At this point, I’m all consumed by the first meal of the day. I decide to give in to the tide; relinquishing my racing thoughts, I am pulled into my kitchen and I begin to craft a morning coffeecake made in the name of BREAKFAST, not brunch. Coffee beans, Siggis Filmjölk, oats and pecans find their way into my mixing bowls, united at last.

I hope you may feel inspired to make a coffeecake of your own! You can poach pears for a lovely seasonal variation, or substitute your favorite milk or yogurt product for the Filmjölk. There is also a myriad of different texture inducing ingredients to be incorporated in your streusel topping. Have fun and use your favorite breakfast items to create a morning cake made of your waking dreams. Bon appétit!

love,

Chrystina

oat, pecan and coffee streusel crumbs

overhead shot of a slice of morning cake on a plate
regardez le coing – look at the quince!

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Vanilla Skyrr Morning Cake With Poached Quince Fruit

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8
Author Chrystina

Ingredients

Poaching

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 quince fruits peeled, cored and quartered

Streusel Topping

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coffee beans medium ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Siggis vanilla skyrr
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Poached Quince Fruit

  1. Fill a saucepan with water, sugar, honey, lemon, vanilla extract, star anise and a cinnamon stick. Stir the pot and bring this mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat on your stove top to maintain a simmer. Add your quince fruit to the simmering liquid. Place a cut out round of parchment paper on top of the fruit to keep them submerged in their poaching liquid. Simmer the quince for about an hour before checking their tenderness. You want them to be easily pierced with a pairing knife and a blush color. If they are not tender enough, continue simmering, checking their tenderness every fifteen minutes, until they are done to your liking. Pour the liquid and the fruit into a bowl; set aside to cool.

Streusel Topping

  1. Combine the sugars, cinnamon, ground coffee, salt, oats and chopped pecans in a large bowl. Toss in your butter and work it into the mixture with your fingertips, the way you would for a pie dough, leaving chunks of butter to form yummy streusel clumps; it should be extremely crumbly. Sit aside until you have your cake batter in the tin.

Cake Batter

  1. Beat your butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, using an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Mix vanilla extract into the Siggis vanilla skyrr in a small bowl.

  2. Add about a third of the dry ingredients mixture to the butter, sugar, and egg bowl, stirring on low speed, and pour in a third of the vanilla skyrr. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer until everything is incorporated in a smooth batter. Do not mix it vigorously or for too long.

Assembly

  1. Pre heat your oven to 350. Grease and line a large loaf pan with parchment paper. Artfully arrange your quince in the bottom of the pan or however you would like to do it really. I left mine in large chunks so that the blushing color wouldn't get overlooked. Pour half of your batter into the pan and over the quince fruit. Smooth the batter down and sprinkle half of the streusel topping evenly over it. Pour the rest of your batter into the pan, smooth it out again and sprinkle the rest of the streusel on top. Place your cake on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. Check to make sure it's done baking by inserting a toothpick and withdrawing it. It is done when the toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan.