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Armenian Challenge !!! - Daring Baker's April 2012


The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenges, hosted by Jason,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.

Nazouk or Nazook is a crisp and buttery, sweet but not too sweet. This pastry is a traditional favorite among Armenians. It goes well with coffee or tea, or even hot chocolate. 

A little on this pastry's background: Jason’s aunt Aida tells that other Armenians eat Nazook, but they might call it “Gata” (Gata is what Persian-Armenians reserve for a specific type of round cake).  Armenians prepare it usually around the time of Easter, and it is eaten for 40 days through Ascension.







Next is Armenian Nutmeg cake, this is a wonderful and delectable coffee cake with crunchy base, soft and moist sponge and topped with walnuts. The key flavor of the cake is Nutmeg.  Absolutely I loved both the cake and pastry.  I really enjoyed making them.  Thanks for this wonderful challenge Jason :)






NAZOOK OR NAZOUK
Yields 40 pieces







Ingredients for the Pastry dough:

All-purpose flour - 3 cups (sifted)
Active dry yeast - 2½ tsp
Sour cream - 1 cup
Softened butter (room temperature) - 1 cup

Ingredients for the Filling:

All-purpose flour - 1 1/2 cup (sifted)
Sugar - 1 1/2 cup
Softened butter - 3/4 cup (room temperature)
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 2 tsp (I added extra)

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



Method:

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 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 moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
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



Ingredients:

Milk - 1 cup
Baking soda - 1 tsp
All-purpose - 2 cups
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Brown sugar, firmly packed - 2 cups
Butter - 3/4 cup (preferably unsalted, cubed)
Walnut pieces -1/2 cup you may need a little more
Ground nutmeg - 1 to 1 1/2 tsp (5 to 7 ½ ml) (5 to 8 gm) (try to grate it fresh yourself; the aroma is enchanting)
Egg - 1






 Method:

1. Preheat your oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
2. Mix the baking soda (not baking powder; that's for the next step) into the milk. Set it aside.
3. Sift together the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. One sift is fine
4. Add the brown sugar. Go ahead and mix the flour and brown sugar together.
5. Toss in the cubed butter.
6. Mash the butter with a fork into the dry ingredients (you can also use your fingers if you want). You'll want to achieve a more-or-less uniform, tan-colored crumbly mixture.
7. Take HALF of this resulting crumbly mixture into your spring form (9”/23cm) pan. Press a crust out of it using your fingers and knuckles. It will be easy.
8. Crack an egg into a mixer or bowl.
9. Toss the nutmeg in with the egg.
10. Start mixing slowly with a whisk attachment and then increase to medium speed, or mix with a hand whisk if you're doing it manually. Once it's mixed well and frothy (about 1 minute using a standing mixer, or about 2-3 minutes of vigorous beating with a whisk), pour in the milk and baking soda mixture. Continue to mix until uniform.
11. Pour in the rest of the crumbly mixture. Mix that well, with either a paddle attachment, or a spatula. Or continue to use the whisk; it won't make much of a difference, since the resulting batter is very liquidy.
12. Pour the batter over the base in the spring form pan.
13. Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.
14. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 30-40 minutes. You'll know it's done when the top is a golden brown, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
15. Allow to cool in the pan, and then release. Enjoy!




An Even Easier Way...if you have a Food Processor

1. Preheat your oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
2. Mix the baking soda (not baking powder) 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 spring form (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 spring form pan.
10. Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.
11. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for 30-40 minutes. Its 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!

Note:

1.  I baked the Armenian nutmeg cake extra 15 minutes in my oven covering with the foil to avoid darkening.  So check your cake after 30 minutes and decide whether you have to bake for few more minutes.
2. For the perfect and neat slices cool the cake completely this is very important.  But I did not do it though :)  I was very eager to taste the cake :)

Both the cake and pastry was so delicious!!! I hope you all enjoyed the post as much as we enjoyed eating them :):)

Freezing/Storage Instructions/Tips: Nazook will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of weeks, and the Armenian nutmeg cake will keep (covered) at room temperature for 2-3 days. Both taste even better still warm from the oven.
Allow to cool completely before attempting to freeze. Nazook will freeze best if put in a freezer bag with all the air squeezed out. Armenian Nutmeg Cake will also freeze fairly well if completely sealed. Both can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Anula  – (April 27, 2012 at 7:07 AM)  

What a result! KUDOS on making both! And what a fantastic pictures! Love it :)
Pozdrawiam, Anula.

Premalatha Aravindhan  – (April 27, 2012 at 7:59 AM)  

wow wow delicious recipe,love the each shot pavi...truely creative...

hemalata  – (April 27, 2012 at 8:19 AM)  

Awesome recipe with wonderful pictures, looks so delicious.

Shanthi  – (April 27, 2012 at 10:27 AM)  

Awesome clicks and perfectly made.

thepickyeater  – (April 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM)  

i love cinnamon & this pastry is yumm :D looks perfect

Zari(Nilam)  – (April 27, 2012 at 11:21 AM)  

Lovely,Superb.....
http://zariafrozrecipes.blogspot.com/

Namitha  – (April 27, 2012 at 11:34 AM)  

Wow ! A challenge very well done. In love with the whole cake picture :) And there isn't a coffee cake that I don't love, this looks superb and the pastries sound intriguing with the cinnamon filling

Within the Kitchen  – (April 27, 2012 at 11:47 AM)  

Great job on this month's challenge! It was one of my faves1
ceecee

Prathibha  – (April 27, 2012 at 12:09 PM)  

Ohh my goodnesss!! just drooling ..drooling..drooling over d pics...very nicely done challenge..:)

Priya Yallapantula  – (April 27, 2012 at 12:26 PM)  

Yum, both the versions look superb, love them.

avocadopesto  – (April 27, 2012 at 1:35 PM)  

Great job on this challenge! Absolutely GORGEOUS photos!

Gingered Whisk  – (April 27, 2012 at 1:44 PM)  

Beautiful job on both the nutmeg cake and the nazook! You did a fantastic job on both, they are simply lovely! :)

justhomemade.net  – (April 27, 2012 at 1:48 PM)  

Gorgeous pastries! Love the use of nutmeg in the Armenian cake.. Sounds too good to not try!

Priya  – (April 27, 2012 at 2:51 PM)  

Seriously feel like trying the cake,irresistible nazook..

Square Meals  – (April 27, 2012 at 3:29 PM)  

Both the dishes look amazing :-)

Korena  – (April 27, 2012 at 3:37 PM)  

Wow, Pavithra your photos are absolutely stunning. Beautiful job!

shelley c.  – (April 27, 2012 at 7:45 PM)  

Wow - both of your desserts look outstanding!! You did a fantastic job on the challenge.

The Betz Family  – (April 28, 2012 at 12:25 AM)  

Beautiful, beautiful desserts! Nice job on the challenge!

Tummy Delites  – (April 28, 2012 at 12:37 AM)  

Awesome...Both ur cake and pastry looks so tempting..!!

pizzarossa  – (April 28, 2012 at 3:54 AM)  

Such beautiful pictures! And bravo for making both!

Hamsamalini Chandrasekaran  – (April 28, 2012 at 4:16 AM)  

Amazing desserts & so tempting. Wonderful job done.

Hamsamalini Chandrasekaran,
www.indianrecipecorner.com

Ramya Bala  – (April 28, 2012 at 9:56 AM)  

pavi both look delicious and the pictures... supppppppppera iruku :)

Mythreyi  – (April 29, 2012 at 5:20 AM)  

These look amazing. I am a newbie to your space, you have a fantastic collection... glad to follow you...

-Mythreyi
Yum! Yum! Yum!

Katherine  – (April 29, 2012 at 4:22 PM)  

I love seeing all the Daring Bakers challenges and yours came out so beautifully!

RAKS KITCHEN  – (April 30, 2012 at 8:04 AM)  

looks great pavi, the clicks are awesome! Great job :)

magpie  – (May 5, 2012 at 12:19 AM)  

Wow Pavi you are amazing! I love how consistent you are with DB challenges and LOVE your gorgeous pics! That coffee cake is just screaming at me to make it!

Saad  – (May 18, 2012 at 10:50 PM)  

A challenge very well done. In really like with the whole food image :) And there isn't a java food that I don't really like, this looks fantastic and the pastries audio fascinating with the nutmeg filling

Renu navin paliwal  – (August 10, 2012 at 3:25 AM)  

justr came upon ur blog today.. u ahve agreat blog there.. lovely pics.. great recipes...

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