Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Rugelach They Carried

In boatloads they came to America. Crowded on ships with fear and the exultation of people who had risked what little they had for the hope of a life more livable than what they left behind. And they carried things with them.

The Jews of Eastern Europe brought to America the rich literary tradition of Yiddish, a profound humanism and reverence for education, the tragic humor of the schtetl, the few belongings they kept and a delectable peasant cuisine. Not least among the many recipes remembered by the immigrants was one (in a multitude of variations) for a rolled pastry made sweet with sugar, honey and fruits called rugelach.

A century later, rugelach is on the verge of becoming as American as the bagel, “schmuck” and “oy vey.”

At the forefront of rugelach infiltration of the mainstream in Westchester, home to so many children of the bubbies and zeydes who carried the cookies to America, is Suzanne Fromm.

Suzanne founded Suzanne’s Sweets in 2004 after a first career in technology. Since then her hand-rolled rugelach business has turned into one of the County’s food success stories. Suzanne’s Sweets now ships the little schtetl cookies across the country and they are offered throughout the towns and villages of Westchester.

These rugelach are top notch. Without sacrificing authenticity, they are baked with a modern sensibility. Never overly dense or bland (as, let’s face it, some of bubbie’s rugelach were), Suzanne’s cookies have a tender pastry surrounding crushed nuts and sweetness. No one ingredient in each rugelach, not chocolate nor fruit, overwhelms. They are each a well balanced, satisfyingly sweet and perfectly sized treat.

It may yet take a few years for rugelach to be offered on every street corner in cities across the country – Wyoming may be a hold out too – but with Suzanne’s Sweets, rugelach is sure to be no mere relic of what The Tribe once was. A delectable piece of the past is being made very much a part of today.

Suzanne’s Sweets rugelach can be found at

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