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.
- large bowl
- medium bowl
- baking/ cookie sheets
- pastry brush
- rolling pin
- crinkle cutter, or a sharp knife
- measuring spoons/cups
- 3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose 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 eggs
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. Use your hand to mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside. (It turns out that you can refrigerate the filling for several hours too. It was not my intent to do so, but my baking got interrupted)
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. I personally found it helpful to press the filling lightly into the dough after having spread it into and even layer. I found this made the rolling in the next step easier)
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 little bit.
17. Apply the egg wash with a pastry brush. (to make the egg wash, simply beat/ whisk egg(s) in a bowl)
18. Using a knife or crinkle cutter, cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet (you can use parchment, if you would like).
19. Place in a preheated oven and bake until tops are golden brown. About 25-30 minutes.
20. Allow to cool and enjoy.
I stored mine in an airtight container for a couple days (at room temperature) and enjoy them with my morning espresso. I really enjoyed giving them a little dip in my morning brew.