Saturday, March 26, 2011
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. I love love loved this month's Daring Baker's challenge. It wasn't too too much of a challenge since my all-time favorite thing to make is sweet yeast bread. I opted to "Canadianize" the sweet, nutty, cinnamonny filling by adding maple extract. Maple-Walnut is a tried and true flavor pairing. The walnuts also provided a texturally interesting contrast to the creamy, fluffy meringue and soft yeast bread. Thanks for a great challenge this month. It's one of my favorites thus far! Maple Walnut Meringue Coffee Cake 2 round 10" cakes For the yeast coffee cake dough: 4 cups flour 1/4 cup sugar 3/4 tsp salt 1 package active dried yeast 3/4 cup whole milk 1/4 cup water, any temperature 1/2 cup butter, room temperature 2 large eggs at room temperature For the meringue: 3 large egg whites at room temperature 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp vanilla 1/2 cup sugar For the filling: 1 tsp maple extract 1 cup chopped walnuts 2 tbsp sugar 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1. Prepare the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups 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, 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 flour and beat for 2 more minutes. 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 1/2 cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed. 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 until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. Prepare your filling by combining all the filling ingredients in a small bowl. 2. Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue and filling: In a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) 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 1/2 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form. Combine all filling ingredients in a separate small bowl. 3. Assembly: 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 rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling evenly over the meringue. 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 (scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch intervals. 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. 4. Baking: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 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. Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar.