As I’m beginning to explore the fine art of cooking, I wanted to provide something tasty for my family’s Thanksgiving spread to demonstrate this newfound interest. And I wanted to create something not out of some recipe book, test my ability to construct something out of my own culinary sensibilities.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of miniaturized food items, so a desert in finger-food form seemed the best way to go, so I made these spiced apricot nutty mini pastries, which I felt were pretty clever, given the spontaneity, not to mention fairly quick!
canned croissant rolls
dried apricots, chopped into little pieces
white sugar, set aside in its own little bowl
To make the filling, in a bowl combine the chopped apricots, walnut crumbles, honey, spices, and an ever-so-tiny bit of water until it was a gooey but pliable mess. You don’t want it to be too runny, because you’ll just end up with soggy croissants later, so ideally you’ll have something that clings together and can be separated out into little half-spoonfuls and maintains its shape.
Regarding spices, add them to taste. Careful with the vanilla, as this can get overwhelming, and you really just want the slightest touch of it so it’ll meld nicely with the cinnamon and ginger. The same with the chipotle and the tarragon, I think the one adds a subtle little kick, and the tarragon is sort of a sweet herb that, used so sparingly, adds to a more complex spiced flavor. Plus the green leaf is a nice color contrast against all those russet earth tones.
Unroll the croissant triangles, one at a time if you’re short on workspace like me, and place one of those half-spoonfuls of filling in the middle of the dough. You won’t need much, because the triangles are so small, and really you don’t want the filling to overwhelm the pastry. Roll the triangle around the filling like you would a normal croissant, and then pinch the edges when you’re done to keep the filling from coming out the sides.
Sugar time: Roll your little croissanty mini pastry in sugar, coating it all over, then put it aside on your oiled backing pan.
When you’ve got all your little pastries lined up, add just the tiniest bit of honey to the top of each pastry. I used a shot glass to hold my honey and an tiny little brush to administer it. Go easy on the application, because this isn’t meant to be a glaze but an adhesive for the sliced almonds — which is the next step. Add just a pinch of sliced almonds to the honey-glazed crown.
Now bake these guys for just a short while until they’re golden brown. I followed the baking directions on the croissant can, and that seemed to work well enough. You might end up with a little filling spillage, but that’s okay. It’s all tasty at the end of the day.
One of my aunts commented that these tasted a little Middle Eastern, and another aunt asked if it was Rugelach. I laugh, because I hadn’t intentionally done so, but I suppose there are some similarities. So there you are, my own Rugelach recipe ;)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!