Guest Recipe! Oma & Bella's Rugelach
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Oma & Bella are two elderly Jewish women who live together in Berlin, where they spend most of their days telling funny stories, cooking traditional Eastern European Jewish food, reminiscing about times from their shared childhoods, and remembering the Holocaust, which they both survived in Germany. Oma's granddaughter, Alexa, is a filmmaker and Berlin native who has chosen these two women as the subject for her first feature-length documentary. We couldn't help but fall in love with Oma & Bella from the moment we met them (in the project video, above), and since a lot of the film's themes — heritage, identity, memory — are brought to light through these ladies' skills in the kitchen, we wrote to Alexa hoping she could share a recipe with all of us.
Lucky for us, she agreed to not only share Oma's recipe for rugelach, but to translate it from German to English! Also included are some screenshots of the documentary-in-progress, from the scene where Oma & Bella make the prized rugelach I can only assume all of us will be spending our Sunday afternoons making from here on out.
Enjoy! And if this sounds good, remember that the rewards for Oma & Bella include everything from a thank you card with a cookie recipe inside to an Oma & Bella cookbook.
Approximate time: 2-3 hours
1 cup of crème fraiche
2 and ¼ sticks of butter (Oma: “I don’t like to eat fat, so I usually bake with oil. But rugelachs need butter; you can taste and smell the difference.”)
1 cube of dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)
4 well-packed cups of flour
4 heaping tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons of vanilla sugar (can be substituted with vanilla extract)
Filling Option 1: Marmalade
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons of marmalade (can be any flavor; strawberry or apricot are recommended)
½ cup of coarsely chopped hazelnut
Filling option 2: Chocolate
2 egg yolks
5 tablespoons of bittersweet cocoa powder
½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup of coarsely chopped hazelnuts
Combine flour, sugar, yeast, and vanilla sugar in processor until mixture is consistent. Add egg, butter and then creme fraiche. Mix until dough clumps together. Form dough into a ball and place in large bowl. Lightly dust with flour and cover with plastic. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of two hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out dough on floured work surface until thin (approximately half a centimeter).
For Marmalade filling:
Spread jam evenly on dough. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts evenly on top of Marmalade. Cut dough into approximately 30 long, narrow triangles. Roll each triangle starting with side farthest from the point. Place each rugelach on greased baking sheet, then brush tops with egg yolk. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Transfer rugelach to rack and let cool completely.
For Chocolate filling: Sprinkle brown sugar, then cocoa powder, then hazelnuts evenly across the surface of the dough. Roll each triangle starting with side farthest from the point. Place each rugelach on greased baking sheet, then brush tops with egg yolk. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Transfer rugelach to rack and let cool completely.
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