Chef Ellen uses the same cream cheese cookie dough to make traditional Jewish rugelach crescent cookies and a savory hors d’oeuvre with spinach filling. She shows Cleverley Stone, food radio talk show host, how to make the basic dough and two types of fillings. These items can be made ahead and freeze well.
For more information about food, wine and dining in Houston, catch Cleverley’s radio show,
Saturdays at Noon on Talk 650 AM. (PS: She gives out restaurant gift cards on every radio show!)
Rugelach Crescent Cookies & Savory Hors d’Oeuvres
Chef Ellen Schwartz
2 ¼ cups of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 ½ tablespoons of sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks of butter cold, cut into ¼ inch pieces or grate butter over a box grater
1 bar of cream cheese, cut into small chunks
Cinnamon and sugar
Traditional Sweet Filling for Rugelach
Any kind of jam or preserves
Cinnamon and sugar mixed
Small heavy cream
Filling for each triangle:
1 tablespoon of apricot, raspberry, or blackberry jam
Layer on top of the jam:
¼ cup of golden raisins or dried cranberries
2 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar
½ cup of finely chopped walnuts, pistachios, almonds or pecans
1. In a food processor pulse the flour, sugar, and salt.
2. Add the butter, cream cheese and sour cream for 16 pulses.
The dough should look like cottage cheese curds.
3. Press the dough into a log 9 inches long and cut into 4 equal parts. Press each part into a round disk, about 4 ½ inches round by ¾ inches thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes roll out the dough to 8 inches in diameter.
Cut the circle in half. Cut each half in half, now you have 4 triangles.
5. Spread the filling on each triangle in this order:
Jam, golden raisins, chopped walnuts, and sugar & cinnamon.
6. Then roll the filled triangles into crescents.
7. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Put cookies on paper.
8. Use a pastry brush and brush some heavy cream on the top of the crescents and sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar.
9. Freeze the crescents for 15 minutes before baking.
10. Dust each one with a little cinnamon and sugar before baking.
11. Bake crescents 15-20 min or until lightly golden.
Savory Filling for Hors d’Oeuvres
(Use same dough as above)
5 oz of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed in a clean dish towel to remove the liquid
½ cup of feta cheese
¼ cup of ricotta cheese
2 green onions sliced thin
¼ cup of golden raisins
1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts, almonds or walnuts
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped oregano
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
Pinch of nutmeg
1. In a bowl add 5 oz of the spinach, ½ cup of feta, ¼ cup of ricotta, 2 green onions sliced thin, ¼ cup of golden raisins, 1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts, 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 minced garlic, ¼ tsp nutmeg.
2. Fill the crescents with a tablespoon of filling and bake at 375 degree F on lower middle rack in oven for 10-15 min or until golden brown.