We’re certain that the Barefoot Contessa will give Zabar’s rugelach a smackdown.
And City Bakery’s Maple Butter Baked Seckel Pears look too easy to be true.
•8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
•1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
•1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons
•1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•2 cups all-purpose flour
•1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
•1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
•3/4 cup raisins
•1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
•1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in a food processor
•1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.
On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds.
Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
Maple Butter Baked Seckel Pears
City Bakery’s Ilene Rosen likes to slice them in half and bake them—stem, seeds, and all—with maple syrup and butter for a simple fall dessert that’s even better paired with creamy Camembert from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably grade B or dark amber)
6 to 10 medium to larger-size seckel pears, stems on
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pears in half lengthwise. (1) Brown butter in a small saucepan, and combine in bowl with the maple syrup. Mix well. (2) Toss pears in bowl to coat with mixture, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (3) Place pears on sheet pan, cut side down, and bake 20 minutes, until pears are soft and cut side is very soft and caramelized. Let cool briefly before serving.