auspicious mazl – rugelach w almond-azuki bean filling

by hungryrabbit on March 22, 2013

Rugelach w Almond-Azuki Bean Filling

I have expressed my desired to attend a Seder for the last two years, and still . . . no Passover celebration. Most likely it’s going to be myself and the rest of the goyum at a half-empty gym again. Oy, so what must I do to get an invitation? Walk around the streets of Manhattan with a Seder plate? You’d plotz for my charoses.

I’ll just make myself a big brisket and chew on some bitter herb and pretend I’m at a seder. What I ask is such a bisel. Whatever happened to the Chinese-Jewish bond? My people served your people dinner on Christmas Day during all those years when no other restaurants were open. It’s tradition! Is it so much to ask to pay back the favor? Be a mench, already.

Okay, no more kvetching . . . for now. I just slaved in the kitchen so you would have something to nosh. No, no, don’t worry about me. I’m fine. You eat. I made them just for you–Rugelachs w Almond-Azuki Bean Filling.

These Jewish pastries reach a new not-quite-kosher-for-Passover cultural mish-mash with the injection of a popular Asian dessert ingredient–azuki beans (aka red beans), which are used in Chinese culture to make desserts, sweet soups, and fillings. The color is considered lucky, so the beans are commonly used for all festive occasions. I think these auspicious rugelachs will bring mazl to any seder–or Chinese dinner, for that matter. With a little mazl, may be I’ll even receive an invitation for next year.

Me ken lecken di finger!

Just in case you don’t know yiddish …

plotz – burst
charoses – chopped fruit and nuts; one of the symbolic foods of the seder plate
a bissel -- a little
mench – a good or respected person
kvetching – whining, complaining
mazl – good luck
Me ken lecken di finger – It’s delicious

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Rugelach w Almond-Azuki Bean Filling

yield: 32 cookies

Pastry Dough

adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients

2-1/4 cups (11-1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks), chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
8 ounces cream cheese, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons sour cream

Directions

1. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt to combine in food processor fitted with steel blade. Add butter and cream cheese pieces and sour cream; pulse until dough comes together in small, uneven pebbles the size of cottage cheese curds, about sixteen 1-second pulses. Turn mixture onto work surface, press gently until it comes together. Divide dough into four equal portions, and press each into 4 1/2-by-3/4-inch disk. Place each disk between two sheets plastic wrap; roll out to form 9-inch circle (don’t worry if disk is not a perfect circle. Stack dough circles on plate; freeze 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare filling.

Almond-Azuki Bean Filling

Ingredients

1 cup almond paste
1 cup sweetened azuki bean paste
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups sliced almonds, toasted

Directions

1. Place 1/4 cup of almond paste between two sheets plastic wrap; roll out to form 9-inch circle. Set aside.

Assembly

1. Working with one dough round, remove from freezer and place a disk of almond paste on it. Spread 1/4 cup azuki bean paste then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar, follow by 1/4 cup of toasted almonds; pat down gently with fingers. Cut dough round into eight wedges. Roll each wedge into crescent shape and place at 2-inch intervals on parchment paper-lined heavy rimmed baking pans. Freeze crescents at least 15 minutes. (Frozen crescents, if well-wrapped, can be frozen in a zipper-lock bag up to 6 weeks.) Repeat with remaining dough rounds.

Glaze

Ingredients

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoons milk
About 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

1. Adjust oven racks to middle positions and heat oven to 375℉. Whisk egg yolks and milk in small bowl until smooth. Brush top and sides of frozen crescents with egg-milk mixture. Bake crescents, turning baking pans from front to back halfway through baking time, until pale gold and slightly puffy, about 25 minutes. Immediately sprinkle each cookie with granulated sugar; carefully transfer hot, fragile cookies to cooling rack using thin-bladed spatula. (Can be stored in an airtight container up to 4 days.)

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

kelly @ kellybakes March 22, 2013 at 8:28 am

Ken, this is my favorite post yet, half because I’ve said since I first tasted challah that I wish my family were Jewish and half because these look amazing. I love the light in your photographs!

foodwanderings March 22, 2013 at 8:44 am

ahahhaa your best post yet. Such a fun read, Ken. I bet you got million invitations. It’s NYC after all, wink, you know what I am gettin’ at. I just think you love having your Jewish rants and extract some Jewish guilt. Cracking up at Kelly’s, who I don’t know, comment above.

Brian @ A Thought For Food March 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

You crack me up, Ken! I just adore these rugelach!

Now make M take you to a seder!

Colette @ JFF! March 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I love how you brought 2 cultures together.

Food’s the best bond between people.

Lora @cakeduchess March 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Oy, the guilt! I don’t even have a Seder and I feel guilty for not inviting you! Must be the Catholic guilt…same thing, right?? What say you come down here next week and we’ll do a Seder here al fresco??:))LOVE these and sweet you!

Marilyn March 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm

These look great Ken. I’ll try to remember these for Rosh Hashana next year because we don’t use flour during Passover.

Tamar March 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm

You have a seat at our Seder next year–Monday night, April 14. Start practicing the Ma Nishtana…

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