Cinnamon Raisin Rugelach – Pastry is rolled with a cinnamon raisin filling and then baked until crispy on top and chewy in the middle
I don’t talk much about my Jewish heritage but it was definitely part of my upbringing. We never went to the synagogue but we’d celebrate the major holidays and ate many of the traditional foods.
My grandma loved to take us to a local Jewish deli on our breakfast dates. It was there where I discovered the rugelach – a pastry cookie filled with raspberry, chocolate, apricot, or raisins. I’m sure there are many more flavors but those are the popular ones.
Today I making a Cinnamon Raisin Rugelach for you. I never used to like this flavor rugelach but I have since figured out why – the large raisins just don’t fit in this dainty pastry cookie. So I pulsed them in a food processor with walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and apricot preserves to make a paste that we’ll spread on the pastry before rolling into little crescent cookies.
And that is just what I needed to fall in love with them. The cinnamon and raisin are such a classic combo and they pair perfectly in this rugelach. They also create a chewy texture that is great in the pastry dough.
Making the dough
The dough for rugelach is very similar to a pie dough. I make it the same way, by pulsing together in the food processor. But instead of adding cold water to help the dough form, the moisture comes from cream cheese so no extra water is needed.
The flour, salt, butter, and cream cheese are added to a food processor and pulsed until the dough comes together. Then, you wrap up the dough and flatten into a disk before chilling in the refrigerator.
Making the filling
Don’t put away your food processor just yet! The filling is also pulsed in there to help it form a paste. Raisins, cinnamon, sugar, and walnuts are pulsed together first to chops up the raisins and walnuts super small. Then, apricot preserves is added to help them all come together into a paste.
Assembling the rugelach
Once the dough has chilled for at least an hour, it’s rolled out and trimmed to a perfect 10-inch circle. Then, the filling is spread almost all the way to the edge (leaving about 1/4 inch clear). Then, the circle is cut into 16 identical wedges. You can achieve this by cutting the circle like a pizza.
Next, each wedge is rolled from the edge to the point to create a crescent shape and placed on a prepared baking sheet. Finally, they’re brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with coarse sugar before baking until golden brown.
Tips & Tricks
- Use your fingers to help spread the filling over the dough easily and without ripping it.
- You must have cold pastry for this recipe or else the resulting rugelach will not be flaky.
- Filling will bake out – that’s almost inevitable. However, if you don’t like the look of the excess filling spilling out, you can cut it off. I had to do that with a batch and it looked great!
Cinnamon Raisin Rugelach
For the dough:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces cream cheese sliced, cold
- 8 tablespoons butter unsalted, cold, cubed
For the filling:
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ¾ cup walnuts
- ⅓ cup apricot preserves
- 3 tablespoons coarse sugar for sprinkling on top
- 1 large egg for egg wash
For the dough:
- Add all ingredients to a bowl of a food processor. Cover and pulse until ball of dough forms. Remove from processor and cover in plastic wrap. Form into a flat disc and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For the filling:
- While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Wipe out the food processor with a towel. Add in the sugars, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts and pulse until the walnuts and raisins are in small pieces. Add in the apricot preserves and process until a paste forms. Remove from processor and place in a small bowl. Cover and keep room temperature.
Assembling the rugelach:
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Set aside. Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll out the chilled dough into an 11-inch circle. Measure out a 10-inch circle and trim off the excess and discard. Spread filling all over the 10-inch disc, leaving about ¼ from the edge inch clean. Using a pizza cutter, slice circle into 16 even wedges, as if you were slicing a pizza.
- Starting from the outer edge, roll the dough towards the center to form a crescent. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Repeat with all the wedges.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking sheet of unbaked rugelach in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Remove chilled rugelach from freezer. Brush with an egg wash made with one beaten egg and 1 teaspoon of water. Sprinkle each rugelach with coarse sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Some of filling may ooze out. You can cut the excess off or just serve as-is. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.