Dates are one of the best food products in the UAE. And who can resist them? I love watching them grow on trees in our neighborhood - how they deepen in color and sweetness as they age. Rugelach is one of my family's favorite treats and as we cannot buy them in Dubai, I make them regularly for my family and guests. To give them a more local flavor, and to develop something unique to Dubai, I have developed a recipe with Emirati flavors using dates.
Ingredients: Makes 32 small or 16 large.
200g butter, softened
200g cream cheese
2 tsp caster sugar
150g plain flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 cup of dates 1 cup of hot water (enough to cover the top of the dates)
1 teaspoon of Bicarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon of orange blossom water
1 stick of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade.
Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Stir in caster sugar.
Add the flour and when the dough forms into a sticky mound, scrape it out of the bowl, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least an hour.
While waiting for the dough to chill, prepare the ingredients for the filling and the syrup.
I usually keep a batch of dough, and a bottle of filling ready in the freezer to use as I need. Prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients together and hen letting it rest until the water is absorbed into the dates. Mash the dates to a consistency that is easily spreadable. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of orange blossom water.
Mix all the ingredients of the syrup together and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then bring the syrup to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens and reduces slightly. Let it cool.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out onto a round board. Spread the filling over the dough and cut into 16 pizza slice wedges. Roll from the outside in as you would a croissant.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove when slightly brown. While hot, brush the syrup over the rugelach.... and then, ENJOY! If you try this, please let me know what you think and how they came out.
Good with a bitter cup of Gahwa coffee.
Watch out for my pistachio and cardamom rugelach recipe!