Getting Wrinkly With Martha!- Prune Rugelach! -255 eggs, 193 1/4 cups of sugar, 197 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 243 1/2 cups of flour used so far- 23 recipes to go!

November 20, 2011


Martha's Prune Rugelach

André's Prune Rugelach

Rugelach, which has about a zillion different spellings, is a pastry from medieval Jewish ancestry rooted in the German region of Europe. It’s a traditional pastry rolled into a crescent around some sort of filling. In this case, a prune filling with a cream cheese dough. The actual name is a Yiddish derivative meaning, little twists, although there seems to be some debate about which form of Yiddish would be appropriate for a more concise translation. Anyhoo, they’re delicious. I first encountered rugelach in the coffee shops in NYC as a student in the late eighties. Delectably dense and moist, these little treats are the perfect accompaniment to a steaming cup of coffee or tea. Making them, however was a bit of work.

First, dried prunes had to be reconstituted in brandy overnight. Meanwhile I prepared the cream cheese dough made from sugar, butter, flour, cream cheese and salt. Once these were combined into a pliable dough it needed to be chilled overnight in two discs. The next day I prepared the filling by removing the prunes from the brandy and placing them in a food processor with bread crumbs and sugar. The dough was then rolled out into large discs and the filling was thinly spread on top with a generous sprinkling of breadcrumbs and sugar. Using a pastry wheel, I cut the discs into 16 wedges and rolled each wedge into a crescent. Each of these were given a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar then returned to the fridge to chill before baking.

While baking, the house filled with the most amazing aroma. I brought these to work for my colleagues to enjoy, and enjoy them, they did.

So, if you’re looking to get a little fancy in the kitchen, try a batch of these delicious Jewish treats.

In my last post and on my Facebook page, I sent out a request to friends and readers in hopes they’d send me a simple story about a memory. What holiday gift did they ask for when they were a child? Did they get it? Do they still have it? I asked them to be as descriptive or as plain as they’d like with the promise to turn these stories into something.

I’ve received almost forty stories and have loved every single one. Some have made me laugh while others were quite somber and sad. Nostalgia is a funny thing and as I get older I find myself falling into its moments with increasing frequency.

I recently completed a short course in poetry at work with a really terrific teacher along with some fantastically talented co-workers. I am not a poet. I’ve written very little poetry but it is a form of writing I’ve been wanting to explore a bit more.

So, below you’ll see seven short pieces of poetry inspired by the items and/or stories provided by friends and readers. I will be continuing this exercise until I’ve  included each of the wonderful stories people were so generous to share. The poems are just short bits of word play, quick first impressions thrown down on paper (or in this case the internets). They are not intended to be great art, but rather, little snippets of memory. Little stocking stuffers for the holidays. If you contributed and don’t see your item or story, keep checking back. There will be more posts to come.

So, without further ado, I present the first in a collection of poems I call, Dear Santa… .

Little Danny Wanted…

Hugo- The Man of a Thousand Faces

A thousand faces.

How nice that would be.

A face just for them.

And one just for me.

Little Gilda Wanted…

A Baby Girl

A perfect vessel for a young girl’s heart,

molded in plastic, swaddled in pastels.

A reservoir for tenderness.

The first lesson in squeals, and spitting up,

and stolen peace in the wee, dark hours.

Soon replaced by a perfect vessel for a young girl’s heart.

Little Greg Wanted…

An Atari 2600a

A flicker of impending doom,

the mechanical “Zurp! Zurp! Zurp!” of the relentless invaders.

With the tapping of a thumb, humanity is saved once again.

There are extra lives yet to be lived.

The stick of joy awaits.

Little Ann Wanted…

White Patent Leather Go-Go Boots

You say that you’d like

the boots that Go-Go.

“No daughter of mine!…”

The answer’s No-No!

Little Linda Wanted…

Chatty Cathy

After too long a silence,

young women found their roar.

Being the smallest of all,

she, too, spoke her mind.

“Please take me with you!” she said.

Little Julie and  Jessica Wanted…

A Bean Bag Chair

All I ask for is a bean bag chair,

a throne for my dainty derriere.

Keep your fur-lined coats and Jordache jeans,

all I desire is a bag of beans.

Little Katherine Wanted…

A Real Guitar

Tiny fingers seek out the note.

The fret.

The string.

The sound.

Stretch to reach a desired chord.

A pluck.

A strum.

A smile.

Thanks to everyone who contributed their stories. Look for more of these later this week. I still have plenty of these to write.

This has been a fun exercise!

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One Response to “Getting Wrinkly With Martha!- Prune Rugelach! -255 eggs, 193 1/4 cups of sugar, 197 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 243 1/2 cups of flour used so far- 23 recipes to go!”

  1. Linda Odell Says:

    Alas, poor Chatty Cathy’s pleas fell on the deaf ears of a practical mother who thought (correctly, I realize in retrospect) there were better things to spend money on. But her story has a happy ending as 20 years later, she transformed herself into Gabrielle the Cabbage Patch Doll, which a grown-up Linda, a far less disciplined mother, fought tooth and nail to secure for her own daughter.

    This is a fun idea, Andre.


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