How to Shape Rugelach

Shape Rugelach
Photography by Sage McAvoy

Rugelach is a classic pastry of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews. Shannon Sarna, author of Modern Jewish Baker, takes hers in unexpected, savory directions. Whether infusing her cookies with the flavors of a popular fall latte or an unusual North African condiment, Shannon’s twists on rugelach bring a dose of melting-pot culture to old-world Jewish baking. Find her one-of-a-kind takes on the classic recipe (like Pumpkin Chocolate Hazelnut Rugelach and Harissa and Goat Cheese Rugelach) and then learn how to shape your rugelach.

Essential Tools 

  • An 8- or 9-inch round cake pan or cutting ring to cut out dough
  • Small offset spatula for spreading various fillings
  • Pastry brush for the egg wash
  • Pizza cutter for cutting triangles
  • Silicone baking mat or parchment paper

How-to Shape Your Rugelach: 

Shape Rugelach
Photography by Sage McAvoy
1. Like many cookie doughs, it’s important to make sure the rugelach dough is very cold when you’re rolling out and shaping it. Give your dough 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator, or make it the day before and refrigerate overnight.
 
Shape Rugelach
Photography by Sage McAvoy
2. Use the circular bottom of a cake pan, like the removable bottom of a springform pan, to make sure that you’re cutting a perfect circle of dough.
 
Shape Rugelach
Photography by Sage McAvoy
3. Spread a thin, even layer of filling on the dough. If you go overboard with the filling, your rugelach crescents will explode as they bake.
 
Shape Rugelach
Photography by Sage McAvoy
4. A pizza cutter is the perfect tool to slice your dough because of the rotating blade, plus you’ll be dividing your dough into triangles, much like a pizza. A pastry wheel will work as well.
 
Shape Rugelach
Photography by Sage McAvoy
5. When shaping your rugelach, take the fat end of the triangle and roll tightly toward the pointed end to form a crescent shape.
 
Shape Rugelach
Photography by Sage McAvoy
6. As you work with the dough, the heat from your hands might cause it to get too warm and make it unmanageable. After working with it awhile, place your dough back in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes for it to set back up.
 

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