Hoo, boy, am I ever a slacker blogger. Today is the reveal date for the March Daring Bakers' Challenge, and I never even got around to posting my February challenge. And I was so lazy with this month's attempt - yes, I did it, yes, it was a fantastic recipe, yes, I want to make it again and again, but I didn't get crazy with it. I made the challenge recipe and tried a pizza version, which was too sweet but we devoured it all the same, but instead of modifying and trying out some other choices, I did other stuff. We really did do a lot of other stuff, though - we dug a garden and took call 2 weekends and decorated St Patrick's Day cookies and made gold coin marshmallows and planted a ton of flowers and enjoyed the absolutely incredible early Spring in Houston this year - oh, my goodness, it's been gorgeous outside and up to a few days ago no mosquitoes (they're back now, though, of course, because they always come back).
The recipe this month was pretty unique and interesting. Bread dough, with a meringue filling. As it bakes, the meringue is absorbed into the bread, which makes it so creamy and moist, and there are bits of meringue left which are lovely. I'm not the best baker in the world, and my bread wasn't quite as fluffy as some of the posts I saw, but good all the same. And the 'savory' version was quite like a pizza roll, only better. I used the same dough for both versions, for convenience, but I knew as I was doing it that the pizza dough would be way too sweet. I made the meringue for that portion with almost no sugar (a little just to make it hold) but still pretty sweet. That's easily fixed next time, though, by cutting the sugar from the dough to start.
Ha, come to think of it, I don't remember what I put into the pizza roll. I know I used some leftover sauce (which was delicious) from a Smitten Kitchen recipe and some shredded mozzarella and then jamon iberica and some spinach and I think that was it. Geez, I'm glad I don't do this blogging stuff for a living. I'm terrible at this! I just found a draft of a post I wrote on January 3 for a really good cake, and now I can't find any pictures to add to the post and I don't know if it's even worth posting. But back to the challenge at hand...
I chose the recipe with the Indian twist, with a little saffron and garam masala, instead of the American version. The other recipe is available on the .pdf here.
The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.
FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
10 strands saffron
For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
For the filling:
1 cup (130 g / 5 oz.) chopped cashew nuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 cup (170g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes
Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.
With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
Assemble the Coffee Cakes:
Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of the filling evenly over the meringue, followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips.
Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.
Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.
Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.
Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.
Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling (yeah, I didn't do this part). These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.
And the pizza roll version...
This was so, so goopy, but the goopy was really good.
Pizza roll. With meringue. Sounds good to me.