Jewish Food

Does Perl Girl Baking Really Make The World’s Best Rugalach?

Joanna Perl of Perl Girl Baking uses the immortal words of Linda Richman as the mantra for her new company: out to make “The World’s Best Rugalach (Really),” her treats melt in your mouth, “like buttah.” Read More

By / November 22, 2010
Jewcy loves trees! Please don't print!

Joanna Perl of Perl Girl Baking uses the immortal words of Linda Richman as the mantra for her new company: out to make “The World’s Best Rugalach (Really),” her treats melt in your mouth, “like buttah.”

Perl Girl Baking was officially launched in January, but Perl comes from a long line of bakers…sorta.  “I started off as my mother’s sous chef,” explains Perl: “I spent my childhood eating home-baked cookies, brownies, pecan bars that my mom churned out daily. She thought store-brought products were gross and didn’t want us eating margarine. When the world was falling for margarine, Splenda and Snackwells, mom was faithful to what she loved: butter, eggs, dark chocolate and real sugar. The way for my mom to be secure about what we were eating was to make it herself.”

Perl comes from a long line of bakers, going back generations on both sides of her family. “Our father’s family had owned Jewish bakeries in Hungary before the war. My grandfather was a baker- not by trade, just by hobby. He had never set foot in the kitchen but when he retired… he found this insane passion for baking; oreos, truffles, he was obsessed with Jacques Pépin and the French chefs, and took over the kitchen in his final years.”

Truffles aren’t exactly kin to rugalach, and a tiny oven is no Cordon Bleu test kitchen, but Perl is positive about her future: “I had an order for 300 people the other day, and pretty much turned into my own personal sweatshop. It was fun! You get into a rhythm.” With an oven that holds only 36 pieces of this savory desert at a time, it’s hard to believe she could stay so upbeat, but Perl practically sings the Song of Songs about her baking business throughout our interview. “I’ll wake up at 3 AM every day to make rugalach, if that’s what it takes.”

Now this writer knows from personal experience that certain older Jews, (of the 97 year old son of immigrants variety who wraps his coin collection in tissues and doesn’t eat vegetables because green food is for the birds) might look at Perl Girl’s seven varieties of rugalach and think- Peanut Butter and Jelly flavor?! That’s not REAL rugalach, but Perl is confident with the direction her business is moving. Her varieties include a more traditional cinnamon sugar and currant variety, as well as apricot, raspberry chocolate (her favorite), and fig and almond. The market is definitely open for Perl Girl Baking—we’ve never tasted such buttery, delicious rugalach in our lives—and she’s ready to take it.