Makes 30 to 36
Even though the recipe contains yeast, there’s no kneading or rising required. Like most pastry doughs, this one needs to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours before shaping and baking.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up
6 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
2 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 packet ( 1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and shortening over low heat. Cool to room temperature.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the water and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes or until it just starts to foam.
3. In a large bowl, place the flour. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Spoon some of the flour over the yeast mixture to cover it.
4. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk in the butter mixture. Add the liquids to the flour and yeast mixture. Using a rubber spatula, mix thoroughly and form the dough into a ball. (The dough will be moist, but not sticky like most yeast doughs.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
3/4 cup sugar mixed with 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cinnamon-sugar in a shallow bowl. Set it and the walnuts and raisins or currants near your work surface.
2. Sprinkle some cinnamon-sugar on the counter. Divide the dough into thirds. Working with one-third of the dough at a time (keep the remaining dough refrigerated), roll it on the cinnamon-sugar into a 10-inch circle. (If the rolling pin sticks to the dough, sprinkle the dough with cinnamon-sugar. It doesn’t matter if the outer edge is ragged.)
3. Sprinkle the dough with cinnamon-sugar, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the nuts and 1/3 of the raisins. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into quarters, then cut each quarter into 2 or 3 wedges. Starting at the wide ends, roll up the wedges to the tips to form a crescent. Pinch the ends if the filling is falling out. Roll the crescents in the cinnamon-sugar in the bowl. Place the crescents, tip side down, about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Continue until all the dough is shaped. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Bake the rugelach for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly, then remove from the baking sheet and set on the rack to cool completely.