Strawberry Cheesecake Rugelach
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 20 minutes Rising Time: 2 hours 15 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes
Chunky strawberry jam, sweetened with childhood memories and punched up with dried strawberries, meets its natural partner in this farmer cheese crumble. Rolled into a simple yeast dough enriched with yogurt and butter and flavored with a kiss of lemon, they come together in just a few minutes and a few pulses in a food processor.
2 (¼-ounce/7-gram) packages active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (see Kitchen Tip)
½ cup (102 grams) granulated sugar, divided
5 cups (650 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2½ sticks (1¼ cups/284 grams/20 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1 cup (240 grams) plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
3 eggs, divided
2 egg yolks
Zest of 3 large lemons
1 teaspoon water
1 cup (160 grams) minced dried strawberries
1 cup (320 grams) real-fruit strawberry jam
1 cup (226 grams) farmer cheese, crumbled
- Mix the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl and stir gently to dissolve. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes, until the yeast foams and bubbles.
- Combine the flour, salt, and remaining sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the butter and process in 8 to 10 (1-second) pulses, until the mixture has the texture of sand. Add the yeast mixture, yogurt, 2 of the eggs, the egg yolks, and lemon zest, and process for another 35 to 45 seconds, until fully combined and the mixture forms a soft dough. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm (not hot) draft-free spot for 1½ to 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough, and then divide it in half and roll each piece into a 14- to 15-inch disc that is about ¼ inch thick. Cover each with a kitchen towel and set aside for 15 minutes to rest. It will get slightly thicker.
- Make the filling: combine the strawberry jam and dried strawberries in a small bowl and set aside.
- When you are ready to assemble the rugelach, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Prepare the egg wash: In a small bowl, lightly beat the remaining egg and water.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface and spread half the jelly mixture over each, leaving a ½-inch border uncovered around the edges. Scatter the farmer cheese evenly over the jelly. Using a long knife or a pizza cutter, cut the circle in half, then in quarters, and then in eighths. Cut each eighth into 3 equal-sized wedges, to make a total of 24 per circle. Roll up each wedge, starting at the wider outside edge and rolling firmly. Place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough to making 24 more rugelach, and place them on the other prepared baking sheet. With a pastry brush, brush the tops of the rugelach with the egg wash.
- Place both sheets into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Swap the sheets between the oven racks, moving the top one to the bottom and the bottom to the top to ensure even baking, and bake for 13 minutes longer. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, and then, with a small metal spatula (an offset spatula works well), carefully transfer them them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Yeast is a little living creature, and it needs special handling. You need warm water (between 85°F and 100°F) to activate it and get it started eating and bubbling, but if the water is too warm, you’ll kill it and it simply won’t work at all.