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Date and Walnut Rugelach

Traditionally baked at Hanukkah, these flaky, crescent-shaped pastries can be rolled up with any filling you like. Rukmini Iyer favours the sweet, nutty combination of dates and walnuts.

From the book

Introduction

If there is one recipe in this book that I’d make on a weekly rotation, it’s these beautifully tender, flaky crescent biscuits, known as rugelach. Traditionally baked for Hannukah, there are any number of fillings you can use – jam, Nutella, other types of toasted nut – but I like this one with blitzed dates and toasted walnuts best.

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Ingredients

100g walnuts
200g cold cubed butter
200g cold cream cheese
50g caster sugar
300g plain flour
200g soft pitted dates
1 medium free-range egg, beaten
demerara sugar, to scatter

Method

Prep: 15 minutes + 2½ hours chilling.

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/gas 4, and toast the walnuts for 10 minutes. Set aside.

Tip the butter, cream cheese, caster sugar and plain flour into a food processor and blitz until it comes together as a slightly sticky dough. Remove from the processor, dust liberally with flour and divide into two flattish discs. Alternatively, you can use your fingertips to work the butter and cream cheese into the flour and sugar, before bringing together into two discs as above.

Wrap the discs in clingfilm or place in small bags, and transfer to the fridge to chill for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, blitz the walnuts with the dates in the food processor or in a high-speed blender until you have a thick paste. Set aside.

Once the dough has chilled, roll out the first disc on a cold floured surface to the size of a dinner plate. Scatter half the date and walnut mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 2.5cm border around the edges of the pastry.

Cut the pastry as if slicing a pizza into 16 long wedges, then roll each wedge up, starting at the largest end. (This is easier viewed than described, so you can head to my website for a video if you wish – or see page 236 of The Sweet Roasting Tin.)

Transfer the rolled biscuits to a lined baking sheet, and brush with the beaten egg. Scatter with demerara sugar, and return to the fridge to chill for 20minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling (though both freeze well for future baking).

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas 6. Bake the rugelach for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Any leftovers will keep well in an airtight container for 2–3 days (unless you invite me around, in which case they’ll be gone within minutes).

FOR GLUTEN-FREE: replace the plain flour with gluten-free plain flour.

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From the book: The Sweet Roasting Tin

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