Dave Dreifus never got the chance to visit Stern’s Pastry Shop owned by his grandparents in Brooklyn. Although it closed several years before he was born, Dave feels as if he’s been there. “[I’ve] dreamt endlessly about Stern’s,” he says. “I’ve seen it in my mind.”
Dave didn’t set out to follow in his grandparents’ footsteps, but during the pandemic he started a cookie company from his apartment and in May 2021 opened the Best Damn Cookies stand in Manhattan’s Essex Street Market. Among his offerings are rugelach inspired by the ones sold at Stern’s. “I feel this burning desire to represent my family” explains Dave.
450 grams (2 cups/4 sticks) butter at room temperature
2 cups (450 grams) cream cheese at room temperature
3¾ cups (525 grams) all-purpose flour
½ cup (100 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon salt
For the filling:
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup roasted walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped
1 beaten egg, for brushing
Prepare the dough: place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed to a light and fluffy mixture. Add the sugar and salt and mix to combine. Add the flour gradually and while continuously mixing on low speed just until incorporated into the dough.
Separate the dough into 4 equal balls, wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Prepare the filling: mix the sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and raisins in a bowl to a spread.
Assemble the rugelach: roll a dough ball on a lightly floured surface to a 6mm/ ¼-inch thick circle. Evenly spread ¼ of the filling on top of the dough and use the rolling pin to gently press the filling into the dough. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 equally-sized wedges. Starting from the wide edge, roll the dough tightly towards the tip. Place the rugelach on a tray lined with baking paper with the tip facing down, leaving 2½cm/ 1-inch between each pastry. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F.
Brush the rugelach with the beaten egg refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Bake the rugelach until golden brown, about 17 minutes.