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. These were both family recipes and I truly wish I could have made them both but these days, I barely have time to get anything done. So I decided to give the nazook a go and I’m so glad I did!
When I was reading the description and recipe for the nazook, I think I was expecting a sweet bread to be the outcome however, that is not what you end up with at all. I would compare nazook more to a cookie. I served these at our Easter brunch and they were the perfect little nosh because they weren’t sweet. The dough is a little flakey and buttery while the inside filling is has just a hint of vanilla to it. They were simple to make, requiring only a few ingredients that I know you have in your cabinets right now. They were even easier to eat. I spent the entire day before Easter guarding them from Mike. We had never had an Armenian dessert before but we were definitely fans!
*What’s your favorite family recipe?
For Pastry Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup sour cream
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg, for wash
Make the Pastry Dough
– Place the sifted flour into a large bowl. Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
– Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.
– Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough. 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.
– Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.
Make the filling:
– Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla extract.
– Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. Set aside.
Make the nazook:
– Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F.
– Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters. Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
– Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not transparent.
– 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) along the long edges.
– 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.
– Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.
– Use a knife to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
– Place in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.
– Cool on a rack.