April 2012 Daring Bakers Challenge

This month the daring bakers takes us all the way to Armenia to bring home the delicious Nazook. Once you eat this you will know what I mean by delicious. They are also versatile as you can change the filling to your liking. And the crust has an awesome buttery flavor which I loved. And it is definitely easy to make.

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake. This recipe makes about 40 pieces of nazook.

Preparation time:

  • Dough and filling preparation: 30 minutes.
  • Dough chilling: 3-5 hours (or longer).
  • Pastry prep: 30 minutes.
  • Baking: 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

Pastry dough

  1. 3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
  2. 2½ teaspoons (12½ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) (1 packet) active dry yeast
  3. 1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) sour cream
  4. 1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) softened butter (room temperature)

Filling

  1. 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (210 gm) (7½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
  2. 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (340 gm/12 oz) sugar
  3. 3/4 cup (1½ sticks) (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) softened butter (room temperature)
  4. 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

Wash

  1. 1-2 egg yolks (for the wash; alternatively, some yogurt, egg whites, or a whole egg

Directions:

Make the Pastry Dough

  • Place the sifted flour into a large bowl.
  • Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
  • Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.
  • Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough.
  • If using a standing mixer, switch to a dough hook. If making manually, continue to knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands. If it remains very sticky, add some flour, a little at a time.
  • Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.

Make the filling

  • Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl.
  • Add the vanilla extract.
  • Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.

Make the nazook

  • Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
  • Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.
  • Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
  • Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not transparent.
  • Spread 1/4 of the filling mixture across the rolled-out dough in an even layer. Try to spread the filling as close as possible to the edges on the short sides, but keep some of pastry dough uncovered (1 inch/2.5 cm) along the long edges.
  • From one of the long sides, start slowly rolling the dough across. Be careful to make sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Roll all the way across until you have a long, thin loaf.
  • Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
  • Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.
  • Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.
  • Allow to cool and enjoy!

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. It also tastes awesome the next day so you can bake them a day before even for a party. Do let me know if you try it. And there are some variations that you can try with the fillings, such as, adding about ½ cup of ground walnuts, almonds, pecans, or even mahleb (if you can find it; it’s a powder made from the pits of dark cherries, and has a cherry/almond aroma).

Thank you for reading my blog.

Shilpa

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