Pumpkin Rugelach

If you've never tried Rugelach it's kind of a mini crescent roll with a tart and creamy pie crust pastry. The filling is typically super sweet apricot jam, or cinnamon sugar and nuts. It's a very satisfying three-bite dessert. Imagine my wicked delight when Food 52 came up with savory pumpkin rugelach with sage, walnuts, and parmesan cheese. (You could easily take this recipe back to the sweet side by making the dough and substituting pumpkin butter for the filling, but this sophisticated savory version is delicious.) I will warn you that the cream cheese-based dough is notoriously difficult to work with so do not event think of skipping the required chilling time. Work quickly, and if possible, work on a cold marble surface. If it starts getting sticky, put it in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Make sure to visit the Food 52 site, sign up for recipes, tips and how-tos, and access to their online store Provisions which sells one-of-a-kind gourmet kitchen supplies. While you're there don't miss The 9 Greatest Pumpkin Recipes including Salted Pumpkin Caramels, Pasta al Forno with Pumpkin and Pancetta, and Honey Pumpkin Biscuits.

Photo by James Ransom for FOOD52

Pumpkin Rugelach with Sage and Walnuts
by Arielle Clementine

2 sticks unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped finely
2 large shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon aleppo or chile flakes
1 cup pure pumpkin puree (or squash or sweet potato puree)
2 healthy pinches kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
flaky sea salt or finely shredded parmesan, for sprinkling

1. Prepare the dough. Cut the butter and cream cheese into tablespoon-sized pats and let soften for 10-15 minutes. Pulse the flour and salt in the food processor, and then add the semi-softened butter and cream cheese and pulse several times, until the mixture has formed large crumbly chunks (this can also be done very easily with a pastry knife, if you've got a sleeping baby and don't want to use the food processor). Gather the dough together into two large balls, flatten into disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or up to overnight.

2. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Toss in the chopped shallots, sage, and aleppo and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree and cook for 5 minutes more, to help evaporate some of the water in the pumpkin. Season with two healthy pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from the heat to cool down (the filling should not be hot when you spread it on the dough).

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough has chilled, roll each disk into a 12" circle on a well-floured board. Make sure you flour the underside of the dough often, so that it doesn't stick. Spread half of the cooled pumpkin filling onto each disk, and then distribute half of the finely chopped walnuts over each disk. Using a bench scraper (or knife, or pizza cutter), cut the dough into 16 triangles. Roll up each triangle, starting from the base, to form a crescent, and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

4. Beat the egg with a teaspoon of water and brush lightly onto the rugelach. Top each rugelach with flaky sea salt or finely grated parmesan (I prefer the sea salt, my husband prefers parmesan, so I make half of each kind). Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm, if possible.