I began my first experiment with baking rugelach for my Tuesdays with Dorie session searching for lekvar. I needed a time-saving step since I was out of town clear up until the deadline for preparing the recipe. Fortunately, I was in Pittsburgh visiting my son's family, home of many of eastern European descent. I asked my daughter-in-law's aunts if they had heard of lekvar. Sure enough, they had, and corrected my pronunciation. The "v" is pronounced like a "w," they told me, then ticked off the many recipes in which it can be used. They told me I would find it in a tube, but instead, my son found it in a jar at Giant Eagle Marketplace.
I also had the great good fortune to have purchased a bag of ground pecans from a Mennonite grocery near Shiloh, OH. This product is sold for making cinnamon rolls (who makes them better than the Amish and Mennonites, right?) I substituted this for the chopped nuts and it worked wonderfully. Because the nuts are ground so fine, it is one less chunky thing to impede the rolling of the dough process.
All went well during the dough preparation. And, rolling out the pastry was pretty easy using my rolling pin cover and pastry cloth. I next applied the layers of goodies atop the dough (I used apples, dates and Craisins for my fruits) and began to roll. I'll admit; that was somewhat of a challenge. There was a lot of filling to get around, and in the rolling process, some of the fruit came squirting out. Oh well. My pastry cloth was a mess!
The cookies were a huge hit!! Everyone loved them. I was asked to experiment and come up with a way to make a dough that would be less expensive and this might be a product we could make to sell. If anyone has ideas on that front, I would be really glad to hear them. The dough was expensive to make for four to five dozen cookies. To solve the unwinding problem, I cut my next three batches smaller (my daughter's suggestion) and placed toothpicks in each one. This didn't take too long, and the toothpicks did help hold the cookies together. The only thing I changed in the recipe was to cut back on the sugar/nut/cinnamon mixture used at the end. I used only 2/3 cup each of nuts and sugar, and I had some left over. Were these cookies worth the time and effort? I'd vote yes!!