Saturday, April 28, 2012

April Daring Bakers Challenge - Armenian Nazook

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.  

Yield: 40 pieces


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

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

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


To make the pastry dough, place the sifted flour into a large bowl.  Add the dry yeast, and whisk it in. Add the sour cream and the softened butter.  Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to work it into a dough.  Switch to a dough hook and knead until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.  Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 3-5 hours, or overnight. 

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

To make the nazook, preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.  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 about an inch of pastry dough uncovered 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 just a little bit. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.  Cut the loaf into 10 equal sized pieces using a crinkle cutter or a serrated knife.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Cool and eat!

This challenge was great for a couple of reasons.  First, it was easy.  I had all of the ingredients already at my house and putting the dough together took about 60 seconds.  There was no long room temperature rise period or deflate/punch.  Just work up the dough and refrigerate overnight.  Making the filling also came together in seconds and rolling and filling the dough was as easy as that ever is.  The cold dough out of the fridge really isn't very sticky, so even rolling it out on the countertop was a breeze.  Second, this dessert rocks.  The smell while it's baking is warm and cinnamony.  Straight out of the oven, these things are crispy on the outside, a little soft, slightly chewy even in the inside.  They're dangerous!  When they've cooled, they are the perfect little coffee cake.  I'm putting this one in my arsenal.  (I think they would be perfect to have rolled and cut and in a little freezer bag, ready to bake at a moment's notice for an easy, impressive snack for company.)  Enjoy these little gems!  Yummy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have it on authority that these are very good. TP