Try this fall twist on a classic pastry recipe! This Pumpkin Butter and Pecan Rugelach is a traditional flaky pastry filled with homemade pumpkin butter and chopped pecans.
The other day I rambled on and on about how I strive to live my life far from ordinary. I shared various examples, from taking a spontaneous road trip, to random acts of kindness, to challenging myself in the kitchen.
For many, many years, one way I have lived a life far from ordinary, is learning about other cultures, religions and traditions. One religion I gained a greater appreciation for and knowledge about is Judaism. You see, one of my closest friends is Jewish and from her I have had the opportunity to learn more about Jewish holidays, religious ceremonies and traditions. I have even had the opportunity to participate in a number of these holidays and religious ceremonies over the years. I have been so grateful for these opportunities to not only learn more about the Jewish religion, but to get to know my friend and her family better.
Just like in any culture or religion, for special family holidays there are specific traditions and traditional foods served. As I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in several Jewish holidays, I have tried Matzah Ball Soup, various spins on latkes, Challah Bread, Matzah Brei, kugel, Knish, and rugelach.
After learning so much about these special foods and their historical relevance, as well as trying them several times, I wanted to learn how to make them. Learning how to make these traditional dishes not only gave me the opportunity to show up at my friend’s house with an authentic recipe, but gave me an opportunity to learn more and grow my skills in the kitchen.
Rugelach, a traditional Jewish pastry and very popular in Israel, was one of the first Jewish foods I learned how to make. The pastry dough is buttery and flaky and is commonly made with sour cream or cream cheese. The pastry dough is then cut into a circle and topped with assorted fillings, traditionally chocolate, nuts or jam. Then to get the classic rugelach shape, the dough is cut into triangles and rolled up sealing the filling inside.
These little treats are so delicious and if you have never had one, I challenge you to make some the next time you are craving something sweet!
Today’s rugelach recipe, Pumpkin Butter and Pecan Rugelach, is a tasty fall twist on this historical dessert. The classic rugelach dough is spiked with cinnamon, filled with homemade pumpkin butter and pecans, and then dusted with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.
I hope this isn’t the first or last rugelach recipe I share with you, and I hope to share many more of these traditional Jewish recipes (including modern twists on these classic recipes) with you as I continue to learn and challenge myself in the kitchen!
- For Rugelach
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature and cut into pieces
- ⅓ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- For Pumpkin Butter
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup apple juice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅔ cups packed light brown sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- To make the rugelach dough: In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, cream cheese and yogurt, beating until light and fluffy.
- Slowly beat in sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth and creamy. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and flour, a little at a time, mixing until a sticky dough has formed and all ingredients are combined.
- Divide the dough into four even balls and flatten each ball into a disk. Wrap the prepared dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours or overnight.
- To make pumpkin butter: In a large saucepan, stir together pumpkin puree, apple juice, ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- To form rugelach: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface and rolling pin. Roll each disk of rugelach dough into a 9 or 10-inch circle; keeping the remaining dough in the fridge until are ready to use.
- Using an 9 or 10-inch bowl and a pizza cutter, trim dough into a perfect circle, removing any excess dough.
- Spread a thin layer of cooled pumpkin butter on the circle of dough and sprinkle pumpkin butter layer with chopped pecans.
- Using the pizza cutter, cut the circle into 8 even triangles. Starting at the wide end of the triangle, roll up each triangle, securing the tip under the pastry dough. Place pastries seam side down onto the prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to form an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the prepared pasties with the egg wash.
- In another small bowl, stir together the remaining ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle egg wash coated pastries with a generous amount of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Chill rolled rugelach dough on baking sheets for 30-60 minutes.
- Bake chilled rugelach dough for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool pastries on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Inspired by and adapted from What Jew Wanna Eat
Other pumpkin recipes you might enjoy: