Jewish Recipes
Judith's Cheese Pastries Recipe
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Judith's Cheese Pastries- dairy

Pastry dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into pieces
1 cup farmers cheese or well-drained ricotta cheese (see
note)
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces farmer cheese or well-drained ricotta cheese (see
note)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Finishing:
Unsalted butter, melted (about 2-4 tablespoons)
Confectioners' sugar

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen pastries.

To prepare the dough: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture.

Blend in the cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla until a soft dough forms. Wrap and chill 1 to 3 hours or overnight. If using a food processor, follow the same instructions but use the pulse function.

To prepare the filling: In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese, farmer or ricotta cheese and sugar until blended.

Add in the egg, salt, vanilla and flour to make a thick filling. Chill if not using right away.

To finish: Divide the chilled dough in half and roll each into a rectangle, 12 inches by 8 or 10 inches.

Brush each section with melted butter and spread half of the cheese filling on each portion, leaving a 1-inch border all around.

Roll up each section halfway and then cut away from the rest of the dough. Then roll up the remaining section. Repeat with the other large rectangle (you will have four rolls in the end). Brush the top of each roll with melted butter.
Chill 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large sheet with parchment paper. Place the pastries on the baking sheet and bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes.

Cool, then dust them with confectioners' sugar. Slice into desired sizes and serve warm with sour cream or plain as tea pastries.

Cook's note: Drain the ricotta by placing it in a colander lined with cheesecloth or several layers of coffee filters. Allow to drain at least 24 hours; the cheese will be thick.

The following explanation accompanies this Marcy Goldman recipe:

"We all know that part of Hanukah. Oil-fried latkes are the standard symbol of the holiday. But did you know cheese dishes are also symbolic?

"According to the Apocrypha, Judith, a Jewish woman of noteworthy valor, requested to dine with the Holofernes, an enemy general. Demure yet seductive, Judith plied the powerful soldier with cheese dishes, the better to bring on thirst, which he in turn quenched with copious goblets of wine. When he passed out, she promptly slew him and thereby averted the disaster that would have been directed toward her people. Judith's valor is said to have inspired Judah the Maccabee and his followers.

"In Judith's honor, specialty cheese dishes, such as cheese latkes and blintzes are as welcome and appropriate as potato pancakes, and aptly celebrate the Festival of Light."

Source: "Hanukkah Treats Owe a Debt to One Woman" Marcy Goldman

 

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