By Casey Wright, Recruitment and Marketing Director, URJ Heller High
If you’ve ever spoken to someone who just got back from a trip to Israel, chances are that they told you about visiting the famed Marzipan bakery in Machaneh Yehuda (the outdoor market, or shuk, in Jerusalem). Marzipan is widely known for their rugelach—a chocolate pastry that they shovel straight from the oven into containers, which are quickly grabbed up by locals and tourists alike. Just about everyone I know who’s made it to the renowned bakery has come back raving about these bite-sized desserts.
They earned this fame for good reason — those little rugelach are no joke, and I will never turn them down. But, in my controversial and likely unpopular opinion, they aren’t the best pastry that Marzipan (and all Israeli shuk bakeries like it) offer. That title belongs to the one and only Pizza Roll.
Crispy, savory, cheesy, and perfect; the pizza roll takes one of my favorite foods and transforms it into a portable, snack-sized treat. I have been known on many occasions to grab a handful of these and a few pieces of fresh fruit from the shuk and call it lunch.
Although I’d argue that these will always taste better when grabbed fresh from Machaneh Yehuda (or its Tel Aviv cousin Shuk HaCarmel), they are pretty easy to recreate at home! Use this recipe to make some of your own, and eat them while listening to some Omer Adam music for a true Israeli experience.
- 1 package of puff pastry sheets (usually 2 per package)
- ½ cup of your favorite marinara or pizza sauce
- 3 cups of shredded cheese (mozzarella or Italian blend works best)
- Any pizza toppings of your choice, finely chopped
- (Optional) – olive oil and seasoning for the crust
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Unroll one puff pastry sheet on a flat, lightly floured surface. If it is uneven, use a rolling pin to flatten the sheet.
- Top with half the marinara sauce, followed by half of the shredded cheese. If you’re adding extra toppings, they’ll go on top of the layer of cheese.
- Starting at the end, roll the puff pastry sheet and toppings into a tight log, pressing down as you go. Once it’s fully rolled up, you can add olive oil and seasoning to the outside if you’d like.
- Cut the log into 1-inch sections and place on the parchment paper, 1 ½ to 2 inches apart.
- Repeat steps 1 through 5 with the remaining ingredients.
- Top the rolls with sprinkle of extra cheese, and bake them at 400 degrees until the pastry turns golden brown (about 18-20 minutes).
- Serve hot or cold, and enjoy!
And don’t forget, you can always come to Israel and taste pizza rolls for yourself on URJ Heller High or NFTY in Israel!