Nazook – Daring Baker’s Challenge

Bogged down by flu and backpain.. Result – A very late Daring Bakers Challenge post. But I sooo much loved  the Nazook – an Armenian flaky pastry with a sweet filling –  that I had to post it.

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.

I was hearing the name Nazook for the first time and after seeing the wonderful reviews in the Daring Bakers forum , decided to give it a try.. and am glad that I did!!! The dough making part is easy – the interesting thing is the addition of sour cream . One mistake I did was I forgot  to refrigerate the dough, which made it loosen a bit more than it was supposed to be.. Adding a bit more flour helped to handle the dough. But the second time I made it (yes, I loved this pastry so much that I made a second batch ) the refrigerated dough was easy to work with and the pastry looked a bit more perfect.

While the Nazook was in the oven hubby came back from office and said the house smelled like a bakery !!! And he was getting impatient with my photo session , so finally suggested – why don’t you take a snap showing me having one of these?? :) So I went on clicking while he could have a piece , without having to wait for my never ending photo session :)

Kids have been asking to bake something for them with chocolate for quite some time. I wanted to try the filling with some pistachios but keeping the kids’ request in mind, made half of the batch with chocolate chips… And yes, they too loved the Nazook and the pastry disappeared quickly :)

Though the recipe looks like lengthy process  – it is quite easy to make these.. and the dough is easy to work with (just don’t forget the refrigerating part).. So go ahead and try these , I am sure you will love them !!!

Recipe

Yields 40 pieces

Ingredients
Pastry dough

  • 3 cups  all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
  • 2½ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (240 ml)  sour cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter (room temperature)

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1½ sticks) softened butter (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

Wash

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

Directions:

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 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!

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