Flo Braker’s cottage cheese dough is an absolutely brilliant recipe. It can be used for a whole slew of pastry creations, the latest of which I made were her rugelach and cinnamon sticks. I was floored by them both and I can’t wait to experiment making other things such as Hungarian love letters with Braker’s dough. The photo is somewhat lame, but I wanted to show the consistency the dough should have before refrigeration. Let me tell you this dough handles beautifully after it is chilled. I always loved my grandma’s version of walnut kifli, but Flo’s RUGELACH lifted me to an entire new level of pastry heaven. Jim couldn’t stop eating them. I was not able to find 4% cottage cheese, so I replaced it with 2% and it worked out just fine. However, I would not consider using a lower fat content cottage cheese, because the curds would be too rubbery for pastry dough. For every cup of curd cheese use a little more than 1-1/2 cups of 2% cottage cheese. You need a food processor to make this dough, however, it is possible to make it by hand with the technique I used for the quick puff pastry recipe, but I warn you it will be messy, because this dough is sticky. You will have to break up the curds with a potato masher and try not to touch it; the dough should not be handled at this stage.

2 cups small-curd cottage cheese [4% milk fat preferably, but 2% will do]
2 cups unsifted flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• Spoon the cottage cheese into a sieve over a bowl; drain for at least 2 hours.
• Do not press down; you do not want any of the whey in the bowl.
• Remove 1 cup of the cheese for the dough; reserve the rest for another use. To make the dough:
• In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt just to combine.
• Scatter the butter over the flour; pulse on and off until the butter seems to disappear into the mixture.
• Scatter the cottage cheese, in bits, over the mixture; pulse on and off just until a cohesive ball is formed.
• Divide the dough into two halves. [Braker divided her dough into quarters for making petit miniatures. However, I wanted the dough for regular sized pastries.]
• Shape each into a flat disc and wrap each in plastic wrap.
• Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.