A Tale of Two Rugelach: Commonwealth Cambridge & Mamaleh’s


Rugelach is a classic New York Jewish treat. It is made with a cream cheese pastry crust.  I have never made rugelach (I don’t think) but I recently did try my hand at a cream cheese crust for this rugelach inspired savoury crostata.   Cream cheese adds to the flavours and textures of the pastry.  Here are two delicious and very different versions of a rugelach each with their own merits.  One I would enjoy with a cup of tea for an afternoon treat.  The other is so big its almost a breakfast pastry- I’d take one with a cup of coffee any morning.

Let’s start with Mamaleh’s an old school but totally new Jewish deli in Kendall Square.  Stop in for breakfast and order an egg sandwich with salmon and onions or some pastries that will rival your bubbe’s (and she’s only even in running if she had chutzpah as a baker) and a coffee. Then,  find a seat in the spacious restaurant.  If you are stopping in midday on a work day, grab a quick sandwich at the soda fountain bar. My favourite waynto enjoy a meal at Mamaleh’s is to nosh and stay a while at a table for lunch or dinner. 


The Mamaleh’s rugelach remind me of the ones I had in New York City.  The dough is flaky and the raspberry filling is laced with chopped walnuts.  There is also a crunchy layer of sugar crystals on top of each of these rich little bites.  They are pretty perfect.

Commonwealth Restaurant, also in Cambridge and just on the other side of Kendall Square is a market, deli and restaurant as well but in a very different way.  It’s like a city version of that cool sandwich shop and corner store you stumbled upon in Vermont or used to frequent in college (if your town was cool like that).  Commonwealth is a great place to pick up a sandwich or salad and the market sells some of the best homemade munchies in town.  Coffee and a bite can be had any day from the market starting at 7:30 am.  Commonwealth is open for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday.


Still a rugelach but a whole different experience is Commonwealth’s rolled treat.  The raspberry jam is nut-less and pure. You taste the fresh tang of the raspberry that leaps out of the soft creamy rich dough.  It is anything but dry, but the pillow-iness of the pastry begs to be enjoyed with a hot drink (tea, coffee, or splurge on a toddie).

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