Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not to scare you away immediately, but this recipe takes several hours to make.

However, you will be rewarded with a flaky, melt-in-your-mouth, fruit-filled pastry. If you use store-bought jam instead of homemade, you save yourself a few hours of prep work.

Yesterday, I sent a box full of these incir ve fındık pasta (fig and hazelnut pastry) to my husband’s office. Rave reviews as usual. =)

This pastry is actually a type of rugelach (also known as Rogelach), which is a rolled cookie with Jewish origins. Rugelach, which literally means “little twists” in Yiddish, has Jewish Ashkenazic (Polish) origins. In Europe, bakers originally made the dough with yeast; but later Jewish-American bakers introduced a cream cheese-based rugelach dough. At Zabar’s in NYC, I could buy rugelach filled with chocolate or stuffed with cinnamon and raisins.

At my first pastry job in Kansas, we used to fill our rugelach with cinnamon-sugar, walnuts and raisins. At home, I would take some of the leftover scrap dough and make mine with raspberry jam and chocolate chips. Since then, I’ve also used the cream cheese dough as the base for my fall and Thanksgiving pecan tarts at the restaurants I’ve worked at and my home.

I first was inspired to make this pastry after recently tasting something similar at a pastane on Büyükada. The concept was good, but the resulting pastry was dry and bland. I knew my version would be much better. I don’t understand why the majority of Turkish pastries are so dry unless you just want to dunk them in your çay.
These may look tasty, but the pastry part is very dry, unfortunately.
First order of business, make homemade fig jam. I overcooked the first batch, so I threw it out and started over. The second batch turned out perfect! Making jam is a great way to use up mushy fruit. The general idea is to use 1:1 ratio of fruit and sugar, but I think that’s too sweet. Instead, I do 2 parts fruit to 1 part sugar for jam I just want to store in the refrigerator.

Secondly, make the cream cheese dough, and I easily adapted my recipe with krem peynir. This simple dough only requires 3 ingredients! Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for awhile before you roll it out.

Because I am used to working in a professional kitchen, I measured my rolled out rectangle of dough exactly - 7” in width and then cut into 6”-wide triangles. You could easily just eye ball the dough to cut your triangles. Or here is a different, but helpful tutorial on how to make traditional rugelach.

Whatever you call these scrumptious pastries - pasta, rugelach or even cookies, you will love them and so will your friends.

Afiyet Olsun!
Perfectly paired with an afternoon tea.
Incir ve Fındık Pasta (Fig and Hazelnut Pastry or Rugelach)

Incir Reçeli/Fig Jam
500 g. fresh figs, cut into quarters or smaller if the figs are larger
250 g. sugar
½ -1 juice of a lemon
1 ea. cinnamon stick

1. Place the ingredients in a small/medium-sized saucepot, cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.
2. Place the pot over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cook over very low heat (about 3 on my flattop) for 45 minutes or longer until the jam is thickened and sticky. Remove the cinnamon stick. At this point, I roughly blended my jam with the immersion hand blender for a smoother consistency. Alternatively, mash the figs with a fork or potato masher to break them up.
4. You might need to let the jam cook a bit longer, making sure it is set. To test when jam/jelly is at its setting point, check out this link.
5. When done cooking, remove the pot from the burner, let cool and seal in a glass jar, placing in the refrigerator.
My fig jam stored in a 1 TL cute, little glass jar.
Cream Cheese Dough/Rugelach Dough
Yields: 48+ cookies

400 g. krem peynir (cream cheese)
535 g. butter, room temperature
700 g. flour

1. In a medium-sized bowl, using a stand mixer or hand blender, cream the krem peynir or cream cheese until smooth.
2. Add the butter and blend again for a few minutes until completely combined.
3. Add the flour and blend just until incorporated.
4. If dough seems a little sticky, add a bit more flour but slightly knead the dough with your hands. Divide the dough into small plastic-wrapped packets (mine yielded 3-500 gram packets) and place in the refrigerator until cooled and slightly stiff, about 1 hour.

Now you are ready to roll out the dough.
You will need:
As needed fig jam
As needed hazelnuts, finely chopped
As needed cinnamon-sugar mixture (Just mix a bit of ground cinnamon with granulated sugar.)
Rolling pin
Knife or pizza cutter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C.
2. Place one packet of dough on a floured work surface. Roll out the dough into a long rectangle, about 7-inches in width. Trim the dough so you have an even-edged rectangle. Then, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into triangles every 6 inches.

3. Place about 1 tablespoon of fig jam and a pinch of chopped hazelnuts along the bottom of each triangle.

4. Roll up the sides of dough and lightly pinch the edges down to seal.
5. Continue rolling up each pastry. Then, roll in the cinnamon-sugar and place on a metal baking sheet, seam side down. (Note: The pastries can be frozen at this point and baked later. To do so, place on a tray in the freezer. Once frozen solid, place in a storage container, with each layer separated by baking paper to prevent sticking. They should be baked frozen, not defrosted. Simply add on 5-10 extra minutes when baking.)
Roll the unbaked pastry in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
6. I leave about a 2-inch space between each pastry to allow for even baking.
Pastries always should be lined up like soldiers in a line
to promote even baking. 
7. Bake the pastries for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned on the edges.
8. Ball up the dough scraps, cover with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator until chilled again, and then re-roll out the dough. Continue with steps 2-7.

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Julia said...

They look fab and you've just cleared something up from my childhood. There used to be these awful biscuits in the UK called fig rolls. Obviously, they were meant to be these - except they were awful. Needless to say, you can't buy them anymore. Yours look like a great little treat!

Sara Louise said...

I'm not a big fig fan (although these do look pretty delicious) but my friend is, and I'm passing this post on to her :-)

Joy said...

@ Julia, have you tried the Turkish ones here?

@ S.L., If you don't like figs, I'm sure you could even play around with other jams. Raspberry, peach, orange marmalade, etc.

I was very happy with how these turned out! =)

Unknown said...

I am taking note of your fig jam. My husband has been eating his way round the south of France with fig jam and since we actually have our very own fig tree in Assos, I am seriously considering making some if there are any left when we go again next week. And those cookies look terrific!