Posted by on Dec 9, 2012 in Etc., Holiday | 0 comments

Fleur de Lis
3930 NE Hancock St – Portland

Is this really my first post ever about rugelach? Criminal. I have no excuse.

But…since Chanukah just started (this is the second night), I decided this would be the week to finally chase down a piece worth talking about. Rugelach are made year-round, but they have deep roots in Chanukah.

On second thought, I sort of do have an excuse. Because the truth is, most of the rugelach I’ve eaten in my life has been non-professionally made: on bar mitzvah buffets, on a holiday cookie plate, at a bris. Side note: I’ve attended an unusually high number of brises in my life. If you’re ever invited to one, go. And if the prospect of witnessing the circumcision of a 7 day-old baby boy is…unsavory, simply position yourself in the back of the room or even volunteer to help out in the kitchen. That’s usually my m.o., and as a bonus: you’ll be closer to the food, which is always pretty great. I promise you there will be many, many cookies – some of which are very likely to be rugelach.

In pursuit of a nice piece of pre-Chanukah rugelach this week, I suffered my way through only one really disappointing one from an overrated bakery (not naming names – unless you ask me to) before my number one cookie-eating friend Heather L (a shiksa from Omaha, no less) hipped me to this much better than average version from Fleur de Lis Bakery.

Rugelach can be made with many different fillings: cinnamon, sugar, raisins, jam, chocolate chips -or any combination thereof.  But I’m sort of a purist when it comes to rugelach.  I like them with cinnamon and sugar and toasted nuts – and a good balance of dough to filling. (The nameless crappy one I had this week was, like, 80% bland, salt-less dough and 20% filling, most of which was raisins. I like raisins but the balance here was way off. That rugelach put me in a bad mood. I’m still annoyed with it.)

The basics:

• A very nice sized chunk.

• Very generously filled with cinnamon, sugar, toasted walnuts (ground small enough so as not to make me feel like I was French kissing a belt sander. You know how walnuts can do that…). No raisins.

• Pastry: flaky, good – but I didn’t detect any cream cheeseyness, which is actually a key ingredient in rugelach pastry. If there was any cream cheese, it was used very sparingly. This seemed more like regular pie dough, almost. Also, it needed a little salt.

• Cut from a rolled log as opposed to being shaped into crescents. I prefer the crescents for traditional and aesthetic reasons. But…logs taste just as delicious.

• Overall: a solid 8.5.  Not the best ever, but certainly recommendable.