This week’s baker is Lauren Groveman, a chef I didn’t know. After searching the internet I discovered she has a very successful career as a cooking teacher, cookbook author and TV show host. She is a self taught cook; her mother was a super model and there was little cooking while she was growing up. In an interview by Kuhn Rikon Lauren describes her joy in actually preparing her recipes in the Cambridge kitchen. Don’t we all wish we’d had a chance to cook with Julia!
Lauren’s recipe is for a very elaborate rugelach. Traditionally the dough is made with cream cheese and the fillings usually include cinnamon sugar, jam and nuts. The dough is rolled out, spread with the fillings, then rolled into little crescents. Lauren uses dried fruit in addition to the usual ingredients, she rolls them like jelly rolls, and uses homemade fruit purees instead of jam.
I chose to follow Lauren’s directions for part of the dough and then make the crescents with the rest of the dough. Both cookies looked delicious but my tasters liked the crescents better.
Lauren gives recipes for prune and apricot lekvars in “Baking with Julia”. I made the apricot which was very easy. The final result is thicker than jam and less sweet.
The lekvar is better than jam because it doesn’t seem to leak out of the cookies as they are chilled or baked. In addition to the apricot I made some with fig jam. Although the fig was delicious, it did leak and burn a bit while cooking.
Here’s the apricot filling:
It is tempting to use lots of filling and jam but I found that a thin layer resulted in a good balance of crust and flavors.
After making Lauren’s version I decided to try Dorie’s recipe which can be found here: NPR. Dorie’s makes less dough, uses less filling and shapes the cookies as crescents. I used the apricot lekvar and some of the cinnamon sugar and nuts leftover from Lauren’s recipe. After baking both recipes I like Dorie’s the best, in part because it is simpler. But, I really prefer Lauren’s lekvar over jam.
Our hosts are Margaret at the Urban Hiker and Jessica at My Baking Heart. Please visit their blogs to see the complete recipes and their results. There are over 300 bloggers participating so there should be lots of opinions about these cookies.
Leave a comment if you enjoyed this, I’m happy to hear from you!