Sweet Challah Rolls with Apple Currant Filling
Dairy-free, Nut-free, Pareve
Prep Time: 40 minutes/ Inactive Time: 30 minutes/ Cook Time: 27 minutes
Challah rolls filled with apples and currants are the ideal sweet baked good for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I originally developed this recipe for a High Holidays cooking class, but these little gems are perfect all year round. Ready faster than a traditional challah recipe, these rolls are also versatile: Leave the filling out, make one loaf instead of individual rolls, or double the recipe and freeze some for another day. Makes 8 rolls
For the dough
2¼ teaspoons (7 grams/1 packet) active dry yeast or instant yeast
3½ cups (438 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
¼ cup (47 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup (235 grams) warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 large egg
¼ cup (56 grams) vegetable oil
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
For the filling
1 cup (118 grams) chopped and peeled sweet firm apple
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup (36 grams) currants or raisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For egg wash
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
Mix: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, flour, and sugar. Add the warm water, egg, oil, and salt.
Knead: Using the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, knead on medium-low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, making sure the dough is thoroughly combined and scraping down the sides as necessary. Once kneaded, the dough should be smooth and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is overly sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary.
First rise: Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a round, and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Use your finger to poke a 1-inch hole through the center of the dough. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Make filling: While the dough is resting, in a medium bowl, combine the chopped apple, lemon juice, currants, cinnamon, and sugar. Set aside.
Prep: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Fill and shape: Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten a piece into a roughly 6-by-4-inch rectangle and spread a heaping tablespoon of filling down the center. Close the dough up around the filling and gently roll it out with your hands to a roughly 9-inch rope. Loosely coil the rope, tuck the end under, and pinch to seal. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough to create 8 rolls. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
Second rise: Loosely cover the challah rolls with a kitchen towel, set in a warm location, and let rise for about 30 minutes, or until the dough slowly springs back when poked with your finger.
Preheat: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Egg wash: Whisk together the egg and water. Use a pastry brush to coat each roll with the egg wash, getting into all the nooks and crannies.
Bake: Bake the rolls for 5 minutes at 375°F, then lower the heat to 350°F and cook for about 22 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
Variation Tip: Use different fillings to make savory rolls or change up the sweet filling by using a different dried fruit. Alternatively, skip the stuffing and top with sesame or poppy seeds instead. To make one large loaf, braid the filled ropes as a loaf and bake for 5 to 10 additional minutes.
Excerpt from “The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook” by Beth A. Lee, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2021 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared in JWeekly.com. Reposted with permission.