wild blueberry & fig rugelach with lavender-infused pepper

Frozen wild blueberries are getting me through this winter. Do whatcha gotta do, right? These rugelach came about during the holiday season, when I had a small batch of this jam lingering in the fridge. I like sweet jams to have a little kick of heat to them. I reserve my lavender-infused pepper for baked goods but of course any pepper works here. If looking for lavender-infused, there are several you can order online! I found mine at a farmers market in Florida a little over a year ago.

Notes:

  1. You’ll want to make the jam the night before, or at least 2 hours before use. You need to keep your dough cold and warm jam might make a disaster of things.
  2. You can freeze the balls of dough up to three months! Make sure they are very well wrapped beforehand. I pop them in the fridge an hour before use to get them workable.
  3. When feeling lazy or looking for variety, I shape the dough into logs, roll them out into a rectangle, slice them into rounds when rolled back inward.
  4. While I work with one ball at a time to keep the remainder as cold as possible, you could also just pop all the cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking. I just never seem to have enough space to do so.

Ingredients

  • For:
  • 48 Cookies

for the small batch jam

  • 10 oz wild blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 8 oz figs (fresh, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
  • 4-5 turns of lavender-infused pepper (or any pepper, to taste)
  • pinch of salt

for the rugelach

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter (room temp)
  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 more for sweeter)
  • 12-14 tbsp jam (3 tbsp/dough, more or less)
  • 4 heaping tbsp pistachios (finely chopped, plus more for sprinkling over each cookie)
  • Preparation: 15 min
  • Cooking: 25 min
  • Ready in: 1 h 40 min

Instructions

for the jam

  1. Combine wild blueberries, figs, sugar, salt, lemon juice, and pepper, in a non-reactive skillet or saucepan, set over medium-high heat. Bring fruit to a boil, then turn it down to medium-low heat. Taste to see if it needs more pepper.
  2. With the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher, crush some of the fruit. The jam will thicken within 8-10 minutes. Once done, immediately pour it into a clean jar. Allow it to cool down completely before use.

for the rugelach dough

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream your cheese and butter til light and smooth. Add in your sugar, salt, vanilla extract. Then slowly add in the flour til just combined (do not overmix).
  2. Dump the dough onto a floured surface, patting it into a ball. Divide that ball into 4 pieces, covering each in plastic wrap and placing them in the fridge for at least an hour, or over night.
  3. When ready to roll out, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Work with one dough at a time, leaving the others to remain cold in the fridge til ready to roll out.
  4. Roll the ball of dough out into a 8 or 9-inch circle. Spread about 3 tbsp jam over it. Using a pizza cutter, slice the circle into 12 triangles. Roll each wedge inward, starting at the edge. Place each cookie on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Egg wash them, then sprinkle pistachios and/or sugar over each.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. These take a tiny bit longer due to the freshness of the berries.

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