This is the first week in ages that I can dedicate a small portion of a day to blogging. We’ve had a couple of staff members on leave for the last month so naturally, I got the grand privilege of filling in. Today however, I have chosen to work from home which is perfect given the blustery, rainy weather today. I should hopefully get a blog post up and start working on some new giveaways :)
What I’m blogging about today was actually baked and eaten last weekend. Normally if I haven’t had time to blog about a new recipe I leave it be but this pastry that hails from Armenia was *that* good that I need to share it with the world. At the very least, I’d like to have easy access to the recipe via my own blog when I make this again, and again.
This month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jason of DailyCandor.com who presented us with two options (or both!). Both treats were Armenian and I had hoped to bake both but I ran out of time this month. As I needed to take a plate of food to my doll meeting, I chose to go with Nazook instead of the Armenian Nutmeg Cake. I do hope to make the cake too some time.
On glancing through the recipe for Nazook initially, I admittedly felt a little underwhelmed by the listed ingredients. There seemed to be nothing remarkable flavour wise but I decided to get on with the dough. The dough contained a good amount of butter and sour cream so it was very much like a pastry but not super short. I could only let my dough rest in the fridge for two hours but the result was still good. I’ll try overnight next time :)
The filling was pretty simple too and preparing the Nazook (by rolling the filling and flattened out dough into a skinny, long shape) reminded me of another delicious Eastern European Daring Bakers challenge: Povitica.
My verdict? Slap me silly for ever doubting that the simplest but delicious ingredients couldn’t produce something amazing. Nazooks were so moreish! My husband couldn’t get enough of them and I was happy to return home from my doll meeting with an empty container. I think I’d like to add some nuts to my filling next time but believe me, the basic recipe alone will yield you an afternoon tea offering worthy of comments.
Yields 40 pieces (recipe may seem lengthy but it’s quite easy! Also perfect with a Thermomix)
Video instructions by my aunt Aida
- 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)
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
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!