food 10.13.08

Mr. Lee's Rugelach

Rugelach, the short and sweet cinnamony pastry, is a Jewish tradition, especially for the holidays. It has descended to us from a number of places—Germany, Austria, Hungary—and been Americanized in recent years. If it isn't as popular as it once was, that's understandable, since so many version are dry, doughy, even chemical tasting.

But, wait, there's hope for rugelachphiles! In one of those unlikely New York twists, the best rugelach in the city is found in Harlem and made "by a brother," as the window description had it before a recent renovation. Head to Lee Lee's, 283 W. 118th [Fred Douglass] 917.493.6633, where you'll find perfect specimens of cream cheese dough, apricot jam, and walnuts pressed into service by Mr. Lee. If you time it right, you may get a batch warm from the oven. You can also usually find dense and delicious bread pudding with coconut shavings and plump raisins. It's the rugelach, though, that rock the house.

[Lee Lee had closed in 2010 but, very happily, has returned!]


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