Ready to try something new?
“ 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 is exactly what I like about the Daring Bakers’ Challenges: going out of my confort zone. Yes I do try a lot of recipes, but they revolve mostly around things I do know and, well, chocolate (just look at my keywords cloud!). But I’m really glad I try both of these recipes. They are different and very good! Oh and I’m not usually a big fan of nutmeg but the crust, the cake and the walnuts just go so well together!
You can see the whole challenge here (with step by step pictures). I made half of each recipe and used salted butter.
Yields 40 pieces
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2½ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup sour cream
1 cup softened butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup softened butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
Make the Pastry Dough
1. Place the sifted flour into a large bowl.
2. Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
3. Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.
4. Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough.
5. 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.
6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.
Make the filling
7. Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl.
8. Add the vanilla extract.
9. Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.
Make the nazook
10. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
11. Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.
12. Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
13. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not transparent.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
17. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.
18. Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
19. Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.
20. Allow to cool and enjoy!
Armenian Nutmeg Cake
Makes one 9”/23cm cake which yields 12 servings
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup butter, preferably unsalted, cubed
1/2 cup walnut pieces, may need a little more
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F .
2. Mix the baking soda into the milk. Set aside.
3. Put the flour, baking powder, and the brown sugar into your food processor. Pulse until uniformly mixed.
4. Toss in the cubed butter. Pulse until uniformly mixed into tan-colored crumbs.
5. Pour HALF of the crumbs into your springform (9”/23cm) pan. Press out a crust using your fingers and knuckles.
6. Crack the egg into the food processor with the rest of the crumbs still in it.
7. Grate 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Toss that into the food processor, too. Pulse until well-incorporated.
8. Pour in the milk and baking soda mixture. Continue to mix until a slightly lumpy tan batter is formed.
9. Pour the batter over the crust in the springform pan.
10. Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.
11. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for 30-40 minutes. It’s ready when the top is golden brown, and when it passes the toothpick test (comes out clean).
12. Cool the cake in the pan, and then dig in. Yum yum!