makes 30 (36, if you reroll the scraps)
For the Meyer Lemon Curd-
(The curd is made using thin-skinned Meyer lemons, which are less bitter with a wonderfully floral fragrance. The Meyer lemons and sugar need to macerate for at least 3 hours in a non-reactive bowl. I prefer to let them sit in a covered bowl, overnight.)
2 Meyer lemons, sliced paper thin (mine weighed a total of 4½ oz.)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon flour
2 eggs, beaten
Prepare the lemons by slicing them paper-thin, (saving the juice) removing all seeds, and placing the lemon slices, the juice, and the sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse just until you have coarsely chopped pieces of lemon. (Slices of lemon work well in pie, but small pieces work better in rugelach’s crescent shape.) Transfer the mixture to a non-reactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them sit for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. (There may be a few stray seeds that should float to the top after the sugar and lemons sit. Remove them.)
In a small bowl, whisk together the butter and flour, then whisk that into the lemon/sugar mixture. Add the eggs, and combine thoroughly. Place the lemon filling in the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water. Cook the lemon filling until it becomes very thick- I take it off the heat when my insta-read thermometer registers 185 degrees. Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and set the bowl over ice to cool completely before filling the rugelach. (You can prepare the lemon filling 3-4 days ahead of time and keep it refrigerated.) When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
For the dough-
Note- (Some bakers are keen on preparing their rugelach dough In the food processor. I think that expedites the process only slightly and lends itself to over mixing. I prefer to use a stand mixer.)
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into ½” pieces
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature, cut into ½” pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour (plus additional for rolling)
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place butter and cream cheese. Beat on medium speed until well combined, then turn mixer to low and add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Turn off mixer, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With mixer on low, add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing just until combined. Do not overwork the dough. Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, dust it with flour, divide it into thirds, shape each portion into a disc, and wrap individually in plastic wrap.(Each disc should weigh 7.5 oz or 213 grams). Refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight, before rolling out. (You can also double wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month.) Prepare the egg wash and the nut mixture.
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
2 tablespoons sugar
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
½ cup shelled pistachios
Place the sugar and Meyer lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until the zest and sugar are combined, then add the pistachios, pulsing until the nuts are finely chopped, but not dusty.
Retrieve one disc of dough from the refrigerator. Dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour. Roll the dough into a circle about 11” in diameter, adding just enough flour to prevent sticking. To trim the edges into a neat circle, use an overturned bowl or plate measuring about 11”. (I use the ring from an 11” tart pan with removable bottom.) Using a small offset spatula, spread 3½ tablespoons of chilled lemon curd on top of the dough then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the nut mixture over the lemon curd. Cut the circle into 10 wedges, and roll up each wedge to form a crescent. Place the rugelach on a parchment lined baking sheet and return them to the fridge. Roll and fill the next two portions of dough, (one at a time) placing the completed crescents back in the fridge. (You can fit 24 crescents per half sheet pan.) Brush the crescents with egg wash and return to the refrigerator to chill thoroughly before baking, at least 30 minutes, preferably more. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the parchment lined baking sheet on top of one more baking sheet (this is called double-panning) which helps prevent the bottoms of the cookies from burning. Bake on the middle rack of the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through. After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F for the last 5-8 minutes of baking. The rugelach should be puffed and deeply golden. Cookies keep best stored in an airtight tin.