Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TWD: Rugelach

This week on a "very special" Tuesday's With Dorie...Lisa faces her demons of pastry dough...Will they ever come to terms and get along? Tune in and find out what is more thinly stretched and overworked--the dough or Lisa's last nerve...

But first a word from our sponsor:

This week's recipe is brought to you by Piggy of Piggy's Cooking Journal who chose Rugelach found on page 150 - 151 of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours...If you want the recipe, check out Piggy's blog--to read more fascinating rugelach stories/blogs than you are right now, visit TWD by clicking here!

So the second I saw this recipe was on our list, I was SO excited and was itching to try it, yet there was a little voice in my head dreading the prospect of once again facing down my demon...me on one side, a blob of pastry dough on the other....a trusty rolling pin at my side, and a lightly floured surface separating us....(was that a tumbleweed that just went by?) The clock says High Noon...and we stare each other down....

Now, if you jump to the end of this story, you'll find me there enjoying rugelach...but not without my battle scars.

What came out really did not look much like they should, and I yielded maybe half of what I was supposed to. And the dough was not fun to work with--it was really soft, even after chilling overnight. By the 2nd half of the dough I got the hang of it somewhat. (But I could not roll it out nearly to 12" circle, more like 8"...and then I didn't get 16 triangles...more like 8. Oh, and the first half of the dough I just ended up just rolling in a full-jelly roll, freezing it a bit, and then cut it in cross-sections and baking from there.. tastes the same...but again, not nearly as many rugleach from that one either). Any way you cut it/fold it/bake it, they came out VERY tasty.

So, the dough. I once again had dough woe. I tried in the food processor (not a large-capacity, but one I thought should still work ok), but it totally overmixed the dough the first time (and I say "first time" because I had to do a dough-do-over). Actually, what happened was it mixed up some of the dough ok, but then I still had huge chunks of the butter and cream cheese that were not getting broken down. So trying to incorporate those meant the rest of the dough had to come along for the ride and it was way too worked over by the time things were 'blended'--and as I wrapped it up I saw chunks of bright white where cream cheese still was not incorporated. I threw it in the fridge on Sunday night...and there it stayed. Monday.... Tuesday... Wednesday... Thursday....Just taunting me every time I went in to the darn fridge. By Saturday, I just dumped it and started over. But not before going online to see some tips for making rugelach dough with a stand mixer, which is how I did it the 2nd time around....and it came together ok, but still a challenge for me to work with when it came time to assemble these suckers. Here is my not-quite-8-inch round o' dough:

I don't know what it is, I cannot get dough to do what I want it to do--I just doughn't enjoy the process. Pies, turnovers, and now add rugelach to the mix...I rarely can get as much as they say I will because half of it will stick to my rolling pin, it rips, or I may actually make it to the width called for, but not without the last inch tissue paper thin. Pastry dough can never just be a happy, calm, easy process. And yes I KNOW the only way I can improve is to keep making it--yet I get a sinking feeling EVERY time because I have yet to have a good positive no-mess experience where I am not stringing together expletives. Bring me a bread recipe any day--but pastry is a chore.

I already am getting a combination happy yet dreaded feeling know I have to attack pastry once more for that pumpkin-pecan "twofer" pie we have on tap in a few weeks. I know already that my crust will barely reach the edges of the pie plate, I'll probably have nothing hanging over to crimp....the only thing going for me is it' s not a 2-crust pie--happily just 1 needed! This should NOT be stressful activity. But it is..Every.Time.

So back to the rugelach and happy endings: For my fillings, I used:Polaner Raspberry (And as I opened it, I could not resist saying out loud the line from their old commercial,"would ya please pass the jelly?!"...and yes, I was the only one in the kitchen at the time...I do what I need to amuse myself) I also used currants, chopped walnuts, and bittersweet chocolate as called for. I will add I think the chocolate is overpowering-and I didn't use all called for--so next time I plan to load half the dough with sugar-cinnamon, bit o' chocolate, and the other half the jelly-currant-nuts and maybe a little chocolate rather than try to go all-in, so to speak.

So there you have it. Another pastry crust showdown and I came out ok, but not without the usual stress, and frustration that now goes hand-in-hand with this process. I'll be keeping at it, I am no quitter....and maybe, just maybe, one day pastry crust and I will learn to get along and work together, and not against each other. (What a great message on election day, huh? Let's work with each other across that aisle..be bipartisan...work for the common goal of a successful pastry crust!)

Hope you enjoyed this week's installment....Tune in next week where the recipe will be Kugelhopf! I'm quite excited--here is a sneak preview for those who don't know what this is: here's a photo I found of a Kugelhopf pan similar to the one I just got the other day!! Enjoy THIS photo, because who knows what mine will end up looking like! I just find I enjoy saying Kugelhopf---almost as fun as saying Farfegnunen!


Cathy said...

Oh, you should have called me when you were opening the Polaner; you KNOW that the "would ya please pass the jelly?" joke is RIGHT up my alley. Oh no, not dough woe! I'm with you -- I mean, can anyone just "roll" a 10 inch circle? The "10 inch" part . . . the "circle" part. You know, I haven't read the two-fer pie recipe yet, but if it calls for Dorie's "perfect for anything" pie crust, I've made that one before and it wasn't terrible to work with. I think your rugelach looks divine! Have fun in Hotlanta, and call me if your plans change!

n.o.e said...

Lisa, what a great post! I'm so sorry you and pastry dough have these issues. I'm thinking flour would be your ally in this. And maybe one of those knit covers for your rolling pin. Also, pick up your dough periodically as you roll it - you can slide flour under, and it seems to relax the dough. Well, enough of the long distance fixes! Your rugelach look fantastic. And I took your advice and limited the chocolate, and it was fine (used the tiny mini chips, which meant no big chunks either.) But I liked the ones without chocolate better.

Flourchild said...

Great looking rugelach. I loved it and will make it again. I love your new pans and can't wait to see how your Kugelhopf turns out!

Beth said...

I too suffer from "dough woe." I'm a fellow TWD baker, and I was thinking that it would be nice if we all could chip in and get Laurie some small token/gift for all the work she does. Would you be willing to contribute? If I can get enough people, it would only be about $1 per person. No pressure :-) Let me know! bethberg12@yahoo.com

Rebecca said...

Oh, we love the "very special" specials. I need to try this recipe.