The pronunciation might churn the tongue, but Gertel's "little twists" — made with cream cheese dough and rolled with various fillings — always melted in my mouth. After Gertel's Bake Shoppe closed its doors on the Lower East Side, in 2007, and decamped for a wholesale-only bakery in Brooklyn, I hunted for their rugelach in South Williamsburg without success.
Quite by chance, I found them in Harlem, while wandering the air-conditioned aisles at Fairway. They wore the Delancey brand, and I almost didn't notice the Gertel's name, printed in much smaller type. (Via email, a representative for the food market stated that Gertel's "joined forces" with Delancey Bakery, a longtime Fairway supplier, less than a year ago.)
Fairway also carried Gertel's-baked, Delancey-branded sugar bowties, seven-layer cake, marble cake, cinnamon and chocolate swirls, cinnamon babka, Russian coffee cake, mini black-and-whites, and a hamentashen assortment, but with little hesitation I gravitated toward the chocolate rugelach. At $7.99 per pound (for a 1 lb. container), they're actually less dear than the $8.50 I last paid at the retail shop. True, these rugelach were longer out of the oven, but they did deliver all the cream cheese richness I remember.
I'm still waiting for word on availability of the other rugelach flavors formerly baked by Gertel's: raspberry, strawberry, and especially apricot-nut, shown below from back when. Also shown: a superlative prune hamentash ($1.50) from the old retail location, with buttery pastry embracing a filling that was not merely moist, but supple, too; the bakery's hanging sign, which today hangs in Brooklyn; and the former Gertel's Bake Shoppe on Hester St.
101 Steuben St. (near Myrtle Ave.), Clinton Hill, Brooklyn