Daring Bakers April Challenge: Armenian Nazook

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.

One of the challenges that went somehow wrong. It wasn't until the night of the 26th when I went to bed that I realized it was Daring Bakers time again. Oh my! So in a hurry I tossed together all ingredients and of course messed up everything. The filling and the dough were too wet (I guess), so everything leaked out and spread out during the baking. At the end I had a solid something  on my baking tray (as you may see in the pictures). The taste was unharmed, it was a sweet intense one like I exspected it to be (Why do I always associate baked goods from the middle east and former soviet region with sweet and sticky?).


recipe from Jason's aunt Aida (the best he has ever tried)
Yields 40 pieces

Pastry dough 
  • 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)
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.

  • 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
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. It should not take long. Set aside.

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

Make the nazook: Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4. Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters. 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. 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. 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 oaf.
Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit). Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush. Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown. Allow to cool and enjoy!

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