Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 2011 Daring Bakers Challenge - Meringue Filled Yeasted Coffee Cake

This month's challenge is brought to us by Jamie @ Life's a Feast and Ria of Ria's Collection.  This is a yeast risen dough, with a meringue filling with whatever tickles your fancy, rolled up like a cinnamon rolled, formed into a wreath and baked. Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad's collection of clipped and hand-written recipes from the 70's.  No date, no source, and she tried the recipe and it was a hit.

 There were many beautiful and yummy looking variations made this month, both sweet and savory.  I will definitely be making this again, trying out different fillings.

Next month I am hoping to do the challenge earlier in the month, the last 2 times I waited until last minute to make.  I made an apple caramel filling for mine.  This is absolutely delicious and fairly easy to make, its just time consuming, like most yeast baking.  I ran into a little trouble with the meringue oozing out, but all turned out well in the end.

Meringue Filled Yeasted Coffee Cake
makes 2 wreaths

For the dough:
4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
2 1/2 tsp Yeast (1 Pkg)
3/4 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
2 Eggs, Room Temperature
Jamie's Version - 10 Strands Saffrom
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
( I think I may add more next time)

For the Meringue:
3 Large Egg Whites, Room Temperature
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Sugar

For the Filling:

Jamie's Version - 
1 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Ria's Version - 
1 Cup Chopped Cashew Nuts
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Garam Marsala
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate

{For Homemade Garam Marsala - 4 or 5 sticks of Cinnamon Sticks (broken in half and scroll opened) 3 1/2 Tbsp Whole Cloves, 100g Fennel Seeds, 4 Tbsp Cumin Seeds, 1 1/2 Tbsp Peppercorns, 25g Green Cardamom Pods, In a small pan on medium heat, roast each spice individually until you get a nice aroma.  Make sure you stir so it doesn't burn.  As soon as each is roasted, transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.  Once they are all , grind into a fine powder by using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.  Store in an airtight container.

My Version - 
1 Cup Chopped Macadamia Nuts
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
4 Gala Apples - Peeled, Cored, and Diced
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Caramel Bits ( I used Kraft) (I think I will use already melted caramel instead next time)

Egg Wash:
1 Large Egg Beaten

Powdered Sugar for Dusting

To prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 Cups Flour, sugar, salt and yeast.  In a saucepan, combine milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.  (In Ria's version, add the saffron threads and allow to steep for 10 minutes)

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the yeast mixture, beating until well blended.  Increase mixer speed and beat 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and 1 Cup flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in another 1 cup flour to make a dough that holds together.  Turn out onto a floured surface (using remainder 1 1/2 Cups of flour) and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed ( I used the whole 1 1/2 Cups)

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat all sides.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise for 45-60 minutes, until doubled.

Prepare filling:

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon if using.  Measure and set aside whatever you are using.

For the Meringue:

In a clean mixing bowl (ideally plastic or metal) 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 in sugar 1 Tbsp at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cake:

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Punch down the dough and divide in half.  On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of dough at a time.  Roll out the dough into a 20x10 inch rectangle.  Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2 inch from the edges.  Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue.  Now roll up the dough, like a you would if you were making cinnamon rolls, starting with the long side.  Pinch the seam closed to seal.  Very Carefully transfer the filled log to one of the baking 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 knife, make cuts along the outside edge at 1 inch intervals.  Make them as shallow or as deep as you would like.
Repeat with the remaining dough.  Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash.  Bake in the preheated oven for 25 - 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 sheet onto a table or counter top.  Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slides the cakes off onto cooling racks.  Allow to cool.

Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with powdered sugar.


carolinaheartstrings said...

What a beautiful coffee cake. Your pictures look terrific! I bet it tastes as good as it looks.

Rhondi said...

These are very impressive. They all look delicious!

Jessica @ bake me away! said...

Man, caramel apple with macadamia nuts sounds delish! Great idea and beautiful results!

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