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Monday, March 22, 2010


The greatest cooks in the world are not paid a penny for their work, nor do they think of themselves as chefs.  In every culture, throughout the world, they are grandmas! They cook because they love to feed the people they love and because to them, food is love, pure and simple. Each family has heirloom recipes, dishes that each taste bud was raised on and longs to return to throughout your lifes journeys.
In my family, as in every Jewish American family, there is a woman we called, Aunt Rose. She was a tiny woman of stature, huge of heart and baked the finest Eastern European Morsels you will ever crave.

Her knishes, her schlischkas, her jelly tarts and for me, most of all, her ruggelach are the finest i have ever tasted of its kind, anywhere.  She was the last one alive who came over from Hungary and brought with her the love and virtuosity of her cuisine. Sadly she left us a few years ago, at a very ripe old age and i have not had great ruggelach since. I cant ever eat ruggelach without thinking of her and the only person who ever dared and achieved at making even better ruggelach and that is my sister, Barbie.  It took many years of practice and on countless passovers and Rosh Hashana, the dessert table fattened us up with samples of 2 generations of ruggelach! Over the years, Barbie figured out that adding more filling was the only possible way to top the great master and well, how do you make the worlds greatest ruggelach, even better? Simple, add more filling! More goodness, now oozing out the sides, cant possibly go wrong. Tragically, for reasons that will never make sense, Barbie left us at a very young age, leaving a ruggelach void in my family that i will now take on and believe the next generation with my niece Lisa is already taking on as well.
Here is the "problem"! Aunt Rose and Barbie cooked with what i have grown to avoid using in my kitchen white sugar, butter, cheese and so on. So here i am adapting a new version of the same idea. This will take a while to figure out, especially since i have not much when it comes to baking knowledge but this will be fun exploring.
I cant explain why i never tried to make ruggelach before but here is the beginning of a work in progress.

3 cups walnuts
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins or currants
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
mix all well and set aside

2 cups flour
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup of my "Cream cheez" recipe
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt

combine earth balance, "cheez", maple and salt till homogenized. Add flour, mixing as little as possible till it forms a ball.  Cut in 4 parts. Wrap and chill an hour.
roll out each part into a log. Add 1/4 of the filling to each one. Wrap up tightly. Cut into rolls and bake at 375 for 18 minutes

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