I used organic, unsulphured, dried apricots to make the lekvar, which gave it a brownish cast rather than the jarred sunlight look described in the recipe. The apricots themselves look dubious, with dark spots that could be misread as the signs of spoilage. If you dare to try them, though, the taste of apricot is as present as in the most pristine looking, treated variety.
The rugelach weren’t perfect, either. The girls rolled the rugelach up the length of the dough, rather than across, which gave them enormous rolls. When they sliced the cookies, what they ended up with could be described as rugelach pinwheels, the size of small cinnamon buns. Not exactly traditional. But, dredged in the nut-sugar-cinnamon topping, baked, and packed into a pretty tin, they were gorgeous. They were also a hit at the hockey game that night, when a big crowd of extended family, co-workers, and friends took over a couple of sections at the Giants game.
Perfection isn’t everything to me. Perhaps it should be, but I’m too often pleased with the serendipitous results my mistakes and experiments bring. I wouldn’t trade those rugelach pinwheels my nieces made for someone else’s correct version, though I’m certain they’ll roll them differently when they make them again. I’d also rather have my unprepossessing, organic version of lekvar than the most golden, conventional variety.
Perfection and imperfection can be a matter of perspective, after all. I also believe that it’s imperfection that leads us to new discoveries, spurs us to try harder, and keeps us from complacency. So here’s to experiments that don’t turn out as expected and mistakes with delicious results. We learn from them, stop to consider their implications, and continue.