Mets la main à la pâte!(YEASTED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE) My first at Daring Bakers!

by Shumaila

For the past few days, ever since India beat Australia in the Quarter Finals World Cup Match cricket has been the talk of the town. From Facebook updates to my college chain mails to newspaper articles- wherever you go – the India Pakistan match is the topic of conversation. I can only imagine the excitement in my hometown Mohali, where the match is being played today. The advertisers, airlines, hotels, all are cashing in on the much anticipated match. Jokes on Afridi and his men are doing the rounds among Indians on social networking sites while the Pakistinis are doing the same on their pages for the team in blue. The mind games have begun on both sides. After long I have been excited about a match- I think there is something about playing Pakistan that triggers every Indian’s blood and the do or die spirit takes over. Defeating Pakistan is for most Indians like winning the world cup. Every Indian today is praying that India wins- I have no more nails left to bite!

Putting the excitement aside for a while, I completed my first Daring Bakers challenge, although a little late! *Victory clasp!*

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!

This entry was supposed to be posted on the 27th but since I was busy packing, travelling, shopping, packing again and more travelling, only now I got the time to bake for the challenge. I enjoyed myself thoroughly in this challenge. The recipe yields two cakes and thought I would do one savory version and one sweet.

While the sweet dough kneaded to form a sexy (as Ria and Jamie put it)!, elastic and smooth dough, I had a tough time with the savory dough- I just could not get the elasticity called for in the dough. I used the bread maker’s dough cycle, then used my own muscle strength and boy how I used them! I’m sure tomorrow I’ll have sore muscles- yes I had to knead THAT much!

I also had trouble with the dough rising. It took longer than usual and did not rise as much as I hoped it would. One mistake I did with the sweet dough, which could be a reason for the not rising problem is that when heating the milk with water and butter- the milk almost boiled and it was still quite hot when I poured it in the flour mixture. But, that still does not explain why the savory dough did not rise. Maybe the yeast?! Hmmm…..Anyways the dough eventually did rise.

In the savory version I thought of putting cheddar cheese and have mentioned so in the recipe but when I got to rolling of the dough I realised that I had no grated cheese on hand. Pressed for time as the match had started (the long rising time changed my whole schedule- I was supposed to have been done with baking by the time the match was to start), I put parmesan cheese- but would still recommend the cheddar cheese.

I decorated the savory yeasted cakes by painting on it using a coffee-yolk mixture. (To see how to paint on your bread check this out!) For  painting I did not have a brush. I used an unused lipstick brush from my kit. Of course I washed it thoroughly. The things I do for baking!

The oven still gave me problems while baking- it does not heat evenly. So I had to make sure that I keep shifting the trays. It also took me longer than the stated time to bake the yeasted cakes as they were not getting brown from the top-nor was the hollow sound coming. As a result the sweet yeasted cake got burned from the bottom. I miss my own oven!!:(

FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE

Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter. The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake.

Ingredients

For the yeast coffee cake dough:

(I used half of the recipe for a sweet version and half of it for the savory version)

  • 4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour  (for the sweet version I used 2 cups and for the savory version I used 200gms flour and 100 gms whole wheat flour and to  compensate for the more liquid absorbing  wheat flour I upped the liquid amount by more than half of the amount stated)
  • ¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
  • 1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
  • ¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
  • ½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar (I used half the amount stated in the sweet yeast dough and 1 tbsp for the savory dough)
  • for the savory version I added some dried herbs to the dough

For the meringue:

  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature (I used half for the sweet and half for the savory)

For the sweet version:

  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the savory version I added only 1 tbsp of sugar to the meringue and pinch of salt

For the filling:

Sweet filling

  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Though I did not add nuts, but I think the addition of either walnuts or pecans would have been an added delight

Savory filling: (you could increase the amount- I was a little cautious because the sweet filling had oozed out while I was rolling the cake, so I skimped on the savory filling- but I think I could have dared to double to the recipe!)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic seasoning
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 tsp herbs
  • 1/2 packet mushrooms, (about 100 gms) washed and sliced
  • 3 tbsp sundried tomato pesto (I used store bought but feel free to make your own)
  • grated cheddar cheese (whatever your diet permits!)
  • salt, to taste (keep in mind the cheese, wine and pesto will also have salt)

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg

Confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes

Directions:

Prepare the dough:

(The recipe directions are for the full amount of dough- in case you are making one sweet and savory- make adjustments accordingly)

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast  mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and 1 cup (150g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes. (Add the herbs at this stage for the savory dough).

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together.  Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling

Sweet version:

Toss together all the ingredients listed under sweet filling. Keep aside.

Savory version:

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the garlic seasoning (you can add fresh garlic that has been minced). Add the onions and saute for a minute. Add the mushrooms and saute. Add white wine and the herbs and salt to taste.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:

In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – 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 the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form. (For the savory version do not add the vanilla and add only 1 tbsp sugar)

Assembling the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue.

For the sweet version:

Line up the tossed apples thinly. (You might have some liquid in the bowl- strain it out- since that would make the dough soggy)

For the savory version:

Spread the sundried tomato pesto. Top with the sauteed mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle grated cheese.

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie 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 sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 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 sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.

Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar on the sweet version, if you like. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day. Serve the sweet version with some creme fraiche.

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