Daring Bakers October Challenge: Mille Feuille

ImageOur October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!

This was a tricky challenge for me, relying heavily on presentation and patience, neither of which are my strong points.  The first attempt was very tasty, but as I didn’t let it chill for long enough before cutting, it collapsed and needed to be eaten with a spoon! The second attempt stayed together much better and was delicious.

I made a traditional Mille Feuille with Creme Patiessere filling.

The puff pastry was really fun to make, although perhaps could have stayed in the oven a little longer for a crisper finish.  My feathering on top also needs a little work, and next time I would assemble right before serving so the pastry stayed a bit crisper.  However, it was delicious!  Great challenge!

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Daring Bakers Challenge April 2012: Nazooks

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.

I made the Nazook, half with the traditional vanilla filling and half with an almond meal chocolate filling.  They were both great, although I slightly preferred the chocolate (always do!).  The pastry is easy, buttery and delicious and could easily be used for a whole range of fillings, both sweet and savoury.

Nazook

approx 40 pieces

Ingredients
Pastry dough

  • 3 cups  all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
  • 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup softened butter (room temperature)

Vanilla Filling (makes enough to fill half the dough)

  • 3/4 cup  all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup  sugar
  • 1/3 cup softened butter (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Almond Filling (makes enough to fill the rest of the dough)

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter softened
  • 2 teaspoon cocoa
  • pinch on salt

Wash

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

Directions:

Make the Pastry Dough
1. Place the sifted flour into a large bowl.
2. Mix in dry yeast.
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. 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. In a small bowl, 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.

10.  In a separate bowl combine chocolate almond filling ingredients and set this aside too

Make the nazook
11. Preheat the oven to moderate 180 degrees C.
12. Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.
13. Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
14. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not transparent.

15. 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.
16. 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.

17. Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
18. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.

19.  Cut into 1 inch slices and place on paper lined tray

20. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, cool and enjoy!

Nutmeg cake to follow shortly!