Cheese & herb savory rugelach
By Shannon Sarna, JTA
Samantha Ferraro of The Little Ferraro Kitchen doesn’t just make delicious rugelach — she makes rugelach in varieties such as cheese and herb, cherry pistachio, and pumpkin candied pecan. I can vouch for the deliciousness (and ease) of this recipe since I recently got to spend time in her kitchen in Seal Beach, Calif., where she taught me how to make her creamy, flaky dough and cut them like a pro, using of all things, a pizza cutter.
Samantha Ferraro’s Cheese and Herb Rugelach
For the dough:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 cups flour, sifted
For the filling:
12 oz. ricotta cheese, drained
2 heads of garlic, roasted
1 sprig of each: rosemary, oregano and thyme (or your favorite fresh herbs), removed from stems and chopped finely
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
To caramelize garlic, cut each head in half and wrap halves in tin foil. Roast garlic in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the garlic is tender and caramelized. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the dough, use a stand mixer and beat together the cream cheese and butter until creamy on medium speed. Then add Parmesan cheese and lemon zest and continue to mix until incorporated.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the sifted flour and mix just until combined. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll into a ball.
Cut the ball in quarters and wrap each quarter in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
For the filling, mix together the ricotta cheese, chopped herbs and caramelized garlic. Make sure to remove the soft cloves by squeezing the bulb and adding the soft garlic cloves to the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Take one dough ball out of the fridge (leaving others chilled until ready to use) and on a well-floured surface, roll it out using a floured rolling pin. Roll it out to about 9 inches in diameter.
Use a round object (a cheesecake pan works well) and outline a circle, then use a knife to cut a perfect circle. Save scraps to roll out later.
Spread two tablespoons of cheese mixture onto the dough in a thin layer, leaving a border. Then cut the circle into eighths.
Roll the rugelach by starting at the outer end of the triangle and roll in making a little crescent shape.
Place all rugelach end-side down on a lined baking sheet and brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle each rugelach with sea salt.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 18 minutes until lightly golden brown.
When done, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.