Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rugelach Anyone?

This is a pan of Rugelach awaiting the oven.  Some recipes are labor intensive - this one isn't.  It is definitely time intensive.  The dough must be refrigerated twice and it has quite a few steps. I made this a two day Rugelach fest. 

The end product of my efforts is OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD yummy - thanks to a good recipe.  It's from Epicure Market in Miami Beach.  There was a request for the recipe in Gourmet magazine and I'm glad they were able to share.

If you've never tasted anything with cream cheese dough, let's just say "they melt in your mouth."  I used dried cranberries in my filling instead of raisins.  They are a perfect contrast for the rich sweetness of everything else.

Speaking of cranberries, did you know they adapt to our weather (to Zone 2) IF you have wet sunny areas?  Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccos.

They are perhaps the exact plant you need if you have bog areas and are prevented from draining.  Plus, they are pollinated by honey bees.  Cranberries are known for the nutrient content and antioxidant qualities.  Today, research is finding the many illness prevention benefits of cranberries - something our Native Americans already knew.

Our Native Americans were the first to use cranberries for food and as a medicine and die.  Cranberries, blueberries and Concord grapes are the only three native fruits from the U.S.A.  Today it is a large farm crop dominated by the Ocean Spray industries.  Unless you have the acres and large start up monies, farming cranberries can be daunting.  The North American cranberry is the fruit recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the standard for fresh cranberries.

For my Swedish neighbors:  The European cranberry variety is known as Vaccinium oxycoccus. It has a different acid profile in terms of the percentages of quinic, malic and citric acid levels present in the U.S. variety. In Sweden, this fruit is commonly known as lingonberry.

Plant a few bushes in a suitable spot.  It might just be fun and provide some fruit for your own use.  They are a low spreading bush with interesting flowers (looking like a pink crane which is the original name "craneberries") and of course the berries.  

If you desire more information, check out the Cranberry Growers' Association.  The www.cranberries.org site from the Cape Cod growers has a wealth of information and recipes. 

Side Note:  Rugelach is Yiddish meaning something like little twists.  It is a Jewish pastry of Ashkenazic origin.   In Illinois, it means delicious!

Second Side Note:  Lingonberry products may be purchased at:

The Colony Store (Sally R. Smith, Manager), 101 West Main St. • PO Box 92 • Bishop Hill, IL 61419,

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