On the 29th of April you could get a once in a lifetime chance to share your first rugelach with the world on its very first NRD*
It seems that virtually everything has a ‘day’. Mother’s Day has at least 8 different dates across the world, despite the fact that moms, mums and mommies do their mother thing 365 days a year. There’s International Day of Happiness, and one of my personal favourites: National Pancake Day. Much as many scoff at such “Hallmark Card Gimmicky Days”, I believe that it is absolutely scrumptious to celebrate all of these days, as life is a celebration anyway. Pausing every now and then in our frenetic lives is the best idea ever. So, here we go. Let’s pause for National Rugelach Day!
So when National Rugelach Day came across my periphery, I figured that it was time to delve a little deeper. I had tried these little delicacies once, when I was maybe 10 years old and I was invited to a jewish friend of mine’s house for Shavuot. The memory of it is quite stark, decades later: First there was mountains of food, followed by an equally impressive spread of cakes and desserts. One on these desserts was in fact The Quintessentially Jewish taste treat: rugelach.
What IS a rugelach?
It’s not actually easy to describe exactly what this tasty treat is, other than to say that it is flaky and buttery, with a delicious cinnamon sweet gooey centre (though sometime chocolate or jam). Is rugelach a cookie or pastry? That is very hard to answer, as it is probably both. Suffice to say that it is a super tasty filling all wrapped up in a flaky sort of dough. The only real way of knowing is to try one. After all, how does on describe that taste of a banana?.
From left to right these are the ones I've tried in the last 30 days.
Lee Lee's Rugelach - Absolutely legendary. Their deeply bronzed, crumbly crust and butter-forward flavor are utterly enchanting. So are the sizeable hunks of walnut and plumped raisins threaded within. The chocolate version gets a drizzle of ganache glaze. And the apricot and raspberry specimens are generously dusted, cake-doughnut style, with cinnamon sugar.
Orwashers - The twisted nuggets of shortbread pastry glisten with mouth-puckering raspberry or apricot jam — arguably the preeminent jam in the rugelach spectrum. They are tinier. made for a single shot of yumminess in your mouth. Dangerous really, as I was compelled to eat three.
The City Bakery - Kinda more strudel-ish but still delicious With their feather-light layer of crust encasing an oversized jumble of honey-slicked walnuts, the City Bakery’s rugelach edge towards strudel territory. Still loved it.
Shelsky's of Brooklyn - The avantgarde rugelach In addition to the standard apricot and raspberry, the regular rotation includes a Northern European-inspired chocolate-and-lingonberry and, most notably, clementine-ginger. There are plenty more where these came from but having been on the Keto Diet for many years, these were all the cheat days I could do in a 30-day Sprint. I am, however, addicted and obsessed. I intend to try more and hope you could come join us this month-- in Lee Lee's Baked Goods for the First Ever Day of this wonderful holiday. And this brings us to National Rugelach Day. It falls on the 29th of April and there is really no excuse to keep yourself from the Most Epic Cheat Day Ever. Not when this tasty treat has its very own day.If you are in New York City, it is pretty easy to pop in to one go the city’s most iconic bakeries - Lee Lee’s - and try this amazing treat.
Alvin lee Smalls, The owner of this establishment has been creating rugelach for over 50 years, so you know that they are going to be good. There probably are other places where you can find them, but none are nearly as good.
Of course, if you don’t live within 45 minutes of 118th street, you might want to opt for the mail order option. ‘Baked goods online’? I hear you ask. Well, this place can get these tasty morsels to you within 3 days maximum. And that is anywhere in the continental United States. Local NYC delivery is even faster.
National Rugelach Day is worthy of a gastronomic adventure and where better to sample them the one of the most celebrated bakeries in New York. This place has been acknowledged countless time in all kinds of media as being on of the best suppliers of rugelach in town.
Incidentally, it also happens to be Mr. Lee's birthday on the 29th of April 2022.
He will be 80 years young.
If you're lucky, you'll snag one of the very few time slots available for your very first taste of rugelach to celebrate the day!
(More about that in the next few days)
Good luck and stay happy!