Harissa and Goat Cheese Rugelach

Harissa and Goat Cheese Rugelach
Photography by Emily Pearl Goodstein / Recipe from Modern Jewish Baker (Countryman Press, 2017)

We tapped Shannon Sarna for a savory Rugelach recipe from her cookbook, Modern Jewish Baker. Harissa is a classic North African pepper condiment with a pesto-like consistency that spreads easily. Topped with creamy goat cheese to balance the heat, this rugelach is a perfect match between Ashkenazi pastries and Middle Eastern flavors. This how-to will give you a visual tutorial for shaping your rugelach

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Harissa and Goat Cheese Rugelach
Yields 2 ½ dozen pastries
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (24 grams) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (250 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ to ¾ cup (130 grams to 195 grams) harissa
  • 2 ounces (56 grams) goat cheese
  • 1 egg (50 grams), beaten (for glaze)
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the sugar and salt and beat until combined. You can also do this by hand.
  2. Add the flour and mix just until dough comes together. Divide the dough into four pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 1 to 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  4. On a heavily floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a large circle. Using an 8- or 9-inch round, cut the dough into a perfect circle. I recommend using a pizza cutter for this task. See page 104 for shaping.
  5. Spread each circle of dough with 2 to 3 tablespoons (32 grams to 49 grams) harissa in a thin layer, leaving ¼-inch border all around. Sprinkle ½ ounce (14 grams) of goat cheese on each circle, and use a small spatula to spread goat cheese gently into harissa.
  6. Using the pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 even triangles. Starting at the longer end, roll up each triangle.
  7. Place the point side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  8. Brush each rugelach with beaten egg.
  9. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool on wire rack.


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  1. These look absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to try and make this at home. I hope they turn out as good as yours look! I’ll report back with how it goes. Love harissa so much and so glad to find another great recipe that uses it.


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