Lean in a little closer and I’ll tell you a little Polish secret — despite our pride in cooking copious amounts of dough, meat, and potatoes, we are actually lovely bakers who have somehow perfected all treats to be light, flaky or fluffy and probably a little jammy. And if you have a problem with that…well, I’ll deal with you in the comments below.
I have some very fond memories of Polish sweets. In the summer, you’re usually finishing off a meal with warm fruity compotes over slices of Polish-style cheesecake (called sernik), gobbling up a piece of light crumb-cake with peaches or plums to enjoy with your steeped herbata (tea). But here’s the thing, Christmas desserts are a WHOLE other story.
Rogaliki was one of my favourites as a child. I snuck way too many off the cooling rack as a kid, but I couldn’t help it. Who wouldn’t like flaky, pastry croissant cookies filled with plum jam? Warm from the oven?!
They were so easy to pop in your mouth and my mom hated how fast they would disappear from the kitchen when she made a few batches for Christmas Eve. They do take a bit more TLC to bake, but the results are promising, and everybody will be very impressed by your addition to the sweets table buffet.
- 1 cup of unsalted butter, cubed and cold
- 2 cups flour
- 250g cream cheese, cubed and cold (one package)
- Jam of your choice
(plum is traditional and delicious. I used raspberry this time!)
1. In a large glass bowl, measure your flour out and set aside. Next, spread a fair bit of flour onto your work station ahead of time in preparation of the kneading the dough. Prepare 4 squares of saran wrap off to the side as well.
2. Next, cut the cubes of butter onto the parchment (which will prevent the butter from sticking to your counters) and place into the flour. Put this bowl in the fridge as you continue to do the same step for the cream cheese. If you have the dreaded “hot hands” issue, than this will ensure that the butter remains as cold as possible. One finished cubing the cream cheese, add to the flour bowl also.
[TIP] I like to buy the sticks of butter when I bake as it’s easy for measuring and is much easier to work with than a cold butter brick.
Time for the tricky part of this recipe: kneading the dough by hand–a must-do to achieve that flaky texture of the rogaliki.
3. Using your fingers, start to pinch the cold butter and cream cheese into the flour, while working in the bowl. You are looking for the texture of tiny, partially broken bits of butter and cream cheese still visible in the flour.
Something like this:
4. Next, carefully dump the loose mixture onto your work surface.
Try to gently SQUISH the dough together a few times and then switch to normal kneading motions every once in a while. Remember to work somewhat fast so that your butter doesn’t melt.
Make sure to turn the dough onto the other side at least once and keep trying to pack the loose flour bits by switching from gentle squishing to kneading.
[TIP] You will definitely have the panicked thought of the dough not coming together (guilty of this myself), but work with it and be patient while kneading. Before you know it, the extra flour will eventually stick.
5. Once you have a good dough ball, separate into four disks and wrap individually. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
6. On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough to the thickness of 1/8 of an inch and into a circle shape of about 8 inches wide. Using a pizza cutter, create 8 triangle wedges.
7. Next, stir your jam until smooth and spread a thin layer onto each triangle wedge using the back of the spoon. To prevent spillage when rolling, you don’t need to spread the jam right to the edges of the triangle. Next, roll the dough into a small crescent.
8. Brush lightly with milk and roll in a small bowl of granulated sugar to coat the outside. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 22-25 minutes at 350°F, adding an extra 5 minutes if baking from frozen. Allow cookies time to cool on racks.
Repeat steps 6 to 8 with remainder of chilled dough.
[TIP] Once rolled in sugar, the cookies can be refrigerated or frozen until ready to bake. They stay fresh for about 4 days after baking!
As we say in Polish, smacznego! (smutch-naygo)
Peace and good eats,