March Daring Bakers Challenge
I am so glad I joined the Daring Bakers. Each month I learn something new and exciting. The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.
Life has been really busy off late. We are moving to a new place in a couple of days so the packing has started. Amit and I are both giving our next exams in the PhD journey in April so we are both busy typing out our proposals for the exam. And to top it I have my part-time internship! So busy busy month. Have been a little slow on updating my blog due to all these events which tend to take a precedence over everything else. But the daring bakers and daring cooks challenge is something I promised myself, I won’t miss for anything so here I am typing away to complete the blog on time!
I loved this month’s challenge. It’s a very easy to make recipe and the only tricky part for me as usual was the yeast! My love hate relationship with yeast is slowly turning into a love love relationship! I like that because that means more home-baked breads… While I was thinking about what kind of filling to make, Amit suddenly expressed his desire to have some apple crumble. So I decided that I would make an Apple Walnut filling for the Coffee Cake. So here is the recipe for the Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake with Apple Walnut filling. You can also make a savory version of this, which I will very soon. Maybe as my first bake at the new place!
I made one loaf of the coffee cake with half the measurements from the recipe given below and it serves 4-5 persons with a few second helpings.
For the dough:
- 10 – 15 minutes preparation of the dough
- 8 – 10 minutes kneading
- 45 – 60 minutes first rise
- 10 – 15 minutes to prepare meringue, roll out, fill and shape dough
- 45 – 60 minutes for second rising.
Baking time: approximately 30 minutes
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
- 4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
- ¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
- ¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
- 1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
- ¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
- ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
- ½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
For the meringue:
- 3 large egg whites at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
For the Filling:
- 4 apples chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnut
- 1 beaten egg
- Cocoa powder (optional)
- Confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes
Prepare the dough:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
- In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.
- With an electric mixer on low-speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together.
- Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.
Prepare your filling:
- Add the chopped apples to a saucepan and add the cinnamon and sugar to it and let it cook. This takes about 15-20 minutes depending on what kind of apples you use. Make sure that the apples are soft and mushy but is still in chunks. You do not want it to get too mushy.
- Cool this to room temperature before using to fill the dough.
- Chop the walnuts and set it aside.
Prepare the Meringue:
- Once the dough has doubled, in a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low-speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque.
- Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
Assemble the Coffee Cake:
- Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Punch down the dough and divide in half.
- On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle.
- Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges.
- Spread half the apple over the meringue and then sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the apple.
- Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down.
- If you would like to make a round coffee cake Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal. I made a log shaped coffee cake this time.
- Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the log or the outside edge of the round coffee cake at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.
- Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
- Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.
- Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling.
- These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.
This weekend coffee cake is what we had for breakfast and I must say I am loving it. It all gooey inside and the dough is both fluffy and crunchy. I loved this and am so ready to make a savory version of this very soon. I loved this recipe specially since it’s so versatile – just change the filling and you have a different version of the coffee cake! And once again cheers to all the daring bakers for all the awesome versions of the coffee cakes tried and tested over the month of March. I am sure there are many happy tummies out there, having enjoyed the yummy coffee cakes. And a special thanks to Jamie and Ria for the wonderful challenge this month.