Rugelach, Redux (Again)


I’ve already shared two very wonderful rugelach recipes on my site, so who do I think I am writing about a third? Well, this one is my favorite. I think. Who knows, I’m fickle. But the world can never have too many recipes for rugelach.

These are from the Bar Tartine book (which I love, see Gift Guide), though for various reasons I had to adapt these to work for me, lil ole’ me without kefir butter or home dried fennel flowers. To be honest, no stages of the recipe worked as smoothly as I would have liked them to work, and there is a major typo in the recipe that is published in the book. But despite all of that, here I am. Maybe that will convince you of how delicious these are? I hope.


The problems:

1. The amount of butter in recipe is wrong, if you are going by grams. It says 112 grams or 1/2 pound. Those are not the same thing. Luckily I caught this. It should be 1/2 pound, or 224 grams. Why are Tartine folks so bad at editing their books? There was a shortbread recipe in the last book that was so jacked up I don’t understand how it made it through any editors. But I digress.

2. I don’t understand the custard that you make early on in this recipe for the poppyseed filling. It has you adding lemon juice to warm milk, which of course makes it curdle. I forged ahead, making a weird custard from curdled milk, and it was totally fine—but I am honestly not sure what is supposed to happen here.

3. I substituted all of their dairy for stuff you could buy at the store, and used fennel pollen. The recipe below reflects this.

4. The recipe has you roll the dough out into a 1/4″ thick rectangle, but it doesn’t tell you anything about the dimensions of that rectangle. I suppose in some ways it doesn’t matter. I winged it, and was fine, but my rugelach were all too tall and fell (3 & 4) over in the oven. I actually liked the way they looked, but I think the few of mine that didn’t fall over had better texture (1 & 2). In the future I would probably divide the dough in half and roll each into a rectangle that would be easier to control.

The rewards:

1. These are fucking awesome. ESPECIALLY, in the first 15-45 minutes out of oven while still a bit warm. They’re like, among the best things ever. They’re still delicious the entire day they are baked. They lose like 20% of awesomeness overnight and continue to degrade about 10% of goodness every 6 hours after that. But, this is life with whole grains and this sort of pastry.

2. I mean, what other rewards are you expecting from a cookie?

Do you guys like poppyseed filling? I’m Polish, so it has always been a part of my life. I don’t know if everyone is down with it. You could substitute jam, but I am not going to vouch for these if made with jam. I think that the alchemy of the whole grains and poppyseeds and honey is very specific. I do however think that this poppyseed filling would be delicious in whatever dough you normally use for rugelach.

So, this is probably the recipe with the most caveats I have ever posted. Sorry. Or not? I love these so much.


Rugelach (adapted from Bar Tartine by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns)

Poppyseed Paste

  • 3/4 cup poppyseeds
  • 1/8 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light rye flour
  • 1 cup kamut flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel pollen
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch dice, chilled
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/8 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Eggwash (an egg beaten with a splash on milk and pinch of salt)

Make the poppyseed paste:

In a spice or coffee grinder, pulse the poppyseeds in batches for 15-20 seconds until broken up and powdery. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the milk, sugar, honey, lemon juice and zest (this is when curdling happened for me), and salt, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and honey are fully dissolved. In a medium nonreactive bowl, whisk the egg. Gradually pour the the hot milk mixture into the egg, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture back to saucepan  and set the pan over low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture turns yellow (I don’t know what this means, why would it turn yellow?), and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk the poppyseeds and salt into the warm mixture. Let cool completely before using. This can be made up to a week in advance, store in the fridge.


In a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, rye flour, kamut flour, sugar, fennel pollen, salt, and pepper and process briefly to combine. Scatter the chilled butter over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture is crumbly, and looks like coarse grain. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese and sour cream, and mix briefly until a smooth dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours, or for up to 24 hours.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Spread the poppyseed paste in a thin layer over the dough. Starting from a long edge, roll up the dough into a log. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (Here, I brushed my log with eggwash and sprinkled it with sugar—up to you.) Cut the log crosswise into pieces 1-inch thick. Arrange the pieces cut side down on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between rugelach. Bake until dark golden brown, 15-25 minutes.

OKAY, when I make these again I will continue to update with notes and ways I have found to simplify this. You too, please? I am curious to hear if people have the same problems I had.

23 comments to “Rugelach, Redux (Again)”

  1. I’ve never tried this before!! And I really appreciate the recipe notes…holy delicious!

  2. Tim,

    I’m fickle and love a challenge, so I’ll definitely try making these and reporting back. Can’t right now as I’m on holiday in SF, and was conveniently planning a breakfast trip to Tartine in about an hour’s time. If they’ve got Rugelach on the shelves I’m buying one for tasting notes (research, yo).


  3. i love your honesty with the book not being edited. frankly, this is the kind of thing that makes me really dislike a book. errors aside, not guiding your reader enough for various issues to anticipate, makes for a frustrating experience.

  4. These look crazy good. I will definitely give these a try. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Agreed, olga. THAT’s why all the food obsessed bloggers that we follow deserve a big collective smoochie from all us readers – they try out so many recipes, restaurants, cookbooks, etc. and generously report back to us. Once a blogger earns your confidence, it’s like having a great chatty pal whose opinions you can trust. Rugelach looks outrageous, Tim – I’d forwarding this post to a Jewish crazy baker relative. Thanks!

  6. So many of the Tartine recipes are so complicated they should definitely make sure everything is correct. I would be pretty upset if I went thru all the steps and it didn’t turn out really awesome.

  7. Regardless of the errors in the book, I think you did a great job – they look yummy and have inspired me. Thanks for sharing and for your honesty!

  8. Thanks for highlighting these cookies and thanks for the heads up on the butter conversion- it will be adjusted for the next printing.

  9. I love this, especially that these cookies still win in your book despite the shortcomings of the recipe. Bar Tartine is such a consistent source of inspiration for me.

  10. I’m going to apologize ahead of time, because I swear to DOG, I am not normally “that person” on the ‘net.

    But I shamefully admit that I laughed myself silly when, in your list of “problems”, you have #2 listed twice, and no #3. I know it was just a typo, and it affects nothing. I’m just weird and find amusement in irony because that is something I would do myself!

    Seriously though, I love your recipes. Can you share what exactly makes this rugelach your favorite? I’ve only have them a few times, and have been tempted to make them. I’d love to know what makes some better than others.

  11. I’m actually in the stages of testing recipes from this book and will be reviewing it soon, so this is super interesting to me. I wasn’t planning on making rugelach precisely because of the complicated ingredients, but I appreciate your willingness to go through the recipe and adapt it!

  12. Thanks for taking one for the team! Now I’m intrigued, because man it must be worth it…

  13. “2. I mean, what other rewards are you expecting from a cookie?”

    Once again, Tim, I love you and this blog so much it kind of makes my arms tingle. TMI? xo!

  14. you are still planning to do the 12 days of cookies — right? promise…

  15. Awwwww, Julie! Thanks for even remembering. I’m no longer a young blogger and just don’t have the energy for a project like that anymore (weak excuse?). I’m lucky if I can get a post up once a week. But there are always my archives? And I’ll try to bring at least one more cookie recipe before the end of the year….

  16. Is there a handy substitution for kamut flour? Would love a suggestion and an idea of how it would affect the end-taste. Thanks, and thanks over & over for your awesomeness – I love your attitude and recipes and the fact that you’re in my grad school city, and one of my truly fav places in the country :-0 (!!!!)

  17. Hi Kristin- I wouldn’t recommend any substitutions with this recipe, sorry. It’s already a challenge as is.

  18. Tim, I *think* that there’s also supposed to be fennel pollen in the custard, and that’s why it would turn yellow. This is a guess based on the way they taste.

  19. Okay, a) how haven’t found your blog any sooner? It’s a crime. b) this is quite the recipe. Kamut flour? Never even knew this stuff existed. c) I very almost don’t trust you with this recipe. So many things could possibly go wrong and lead to me crying in a corner, stuffing my face with failed Rugelach. The poppy filling is what saves you. I grew up with this stuff. Nothing compares.

  20. Ha, Nora. They could go very wrong, so I understand your hesitation. But kamut flour is a great investment- it makes delicious shortbread, too.

  21. looks an amazing recipe, love baking with kamutflour. Do you have the recipe in grams? So it will come out as beautiful as yours :-)

  22. Hi Shan- I used volume measurements. But the grams are available in the book.

  23. Schneiderluvsdoof says:

    February 7th, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I want these now.

What do you think?