Tag Archives: walnuts

Daring Bakers October Challenge: Povitica

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

This was my very first Daring Bakers Challenge. It’s a great way to challenge myself and try recipes I might not have tried before, like this Povitica! I still can’t pronounce it, but I did read it is very similar to a Babka. My only experience with Babka is the Seinfeld episode, one of my favorites. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. “Cinnamon takes a backseat to no Babka!”

I was of course thrilled that the first challenge for me was a yeast recipe, since I bake bread all the time (I know, I need to post my bread on here more often!). But this recipe was a little hard for me to follow. I’m very particular (perhaps peculiar?) about how a recipe is written and organized. I had to sort through it and rearrange it to my liking. Also, I never use active dry yeast (and you shouldn’t either!) and always use instant. So that took some modifying. But only a couple very tiny changes and the end result was really tasty. I’m so glad I made it and have also added “Chocolate Babka” to my must-make baking list. As if I didn’t already have a long list!

This recipe isn’t hard, but it sure isn’t easy nor is it quick. Plan on this taking a couple of hours of your time, depending on how fast you work. But the end result makes a great breakfast the next day. And a mid-day snack. And dessert after dinner.

Yield: 2 loaves

Dough

  • ¼ Cup (60 ml) water
  • 1 Cup (240 ml) whole milk*
  • ¼ Cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp instant yeast*
  • 6 TB + 1 tsp (89 grams) Sugar*
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 4 cups (560 grams)  AP flour, divided

*Note: the original recipe calls for warm milk. Since we are using instant yeast here, warm milk is not required. If you do use active dry, then you will need 1 packet of yeast, 1 tsp of sugar, and milk warmed to 110F. You can still warm the milk a little for instant, but check the temperature. If it is over 110F, you will kill the yeast.

1. Mix together the melted butter, milk, eggs, and water in a separate bowl until just combined.

2. In stand mixer bowl, add your yeast, sugar, salt, and two cups of flour. Add liquid ingredients. Mix with paddle attachment just for a minute or two to help combine ingredients. Switch to a dough hook on speed 1. Add the remaining flour a tablespoon at a time until dough is well formed and smooth. You may not need all the flour, but I used all two cups and a little more. It depends on your weather!

3. Let rest in an oiled bowl until doubled, 1 to 2 hours. The picture below is before doubling. While it is rising, make the filling and topping.


Topping

  • ¼ Cup (60 ml) cold coffee
  • 1 TB granulated sugar

Combine and set aside

Filling

  • 3½ cups (560 grams) ground walnuts
  • ½ cups (120 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1  egg, beaten
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (225 gm) sugar
  • ½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (I added extra!)

1. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.

2. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.

3. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture. Let cool slightly.

4.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

5. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.

6. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.

Returning to Dough

1. After dough has doubled, cut into two pieces. Just eyeball it. Spray two bread pans lightly with non stick spray. Preheat your oven to 350F.

2. Set out a silcone rolling sheet (or if you don’t have one, just use a clean bed sheet, it will help tremendously with the rolling) and a small bowl of flour for any light dusting. Get your rolling pin and prepare to work up a sweat! (Just kidding, it actually rolls out pretty easily).Roll the dough out very thin, less than 1/4″.  My rolling sheet is 24 inches by 14 inches and as you can see in the picture below I filled up the whole thing.  If you have any oddball pieces like I did, feel free to cut them off. Or if you aren’t a neurotic perfectionist like me, then leave it! A little extra dough never hurt anyone. 3. Add half of your filling and spread it on the dough, leaving room on the edges for rolling. Be careful rolling because your dough will be quite fragile at this point.

4. Very carefully start rolling the dough, just a little at a time, using light hands.

5. Then very carefully lift your dough into a bread pan. Form a “U” shape and twist back on itself.

6. Cover and let rest while you roll the second loaf. After both loaves are done and have rested about 15 minutes, brush with the coffee mixture. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 300F.

7. Bake until golden, which will take another 30 to 45 minutes. Check the internal temperature and when it reads at least 180F, it is done.

8. Important: Let cool in the pan. This goes against most bread making rules, but if you try to remove it while it is still warm, it will fall apart. It is a very heavy bread!

9. After it is cool, slice, pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy!

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French Four Spice Cake with Browned Butter Spice Frosting

We recently got a subscription to Sunset Living, even though we live on the East Coast. We used to live on the West Coast and hope to one day move back. So, when we had SkyMiles that were going to expire and no chance of flying at the moment, we got a few subscriptions. Sunset Living was one of them. At least we can now pretend to be on the West Coast!

After daydreaming about all the spas I would like to frequent, I saw this cake recipe. First thing, it was rustic looking, which I loved. It’s nice to see a cake in a magazine that looks like anyone can do it, yet still looks so pretty. Second, the whole “spice” part really sounded appealing.

I had no idea what French Four Spice was, but thankfully we have our trusty Google search (seriously, how did anyone survived before Google?) and I found it is a spice blend made with pepper (all black or white and black), and a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves. I was out of cloves, so my four spice blend had black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The dominant ingredient is the pepper.

I admit, this scared me. Pepper in a cake? That’s different. And the icing – YUM. Browned butter? Ok! The icing ended up being my favorite part. No surprise there! But, the pepper -it was different. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t something I crave, or maybe even make again. The pepper part was just too overpowering for me. But, I’m glad I tried it. Something new! But next time I think I will leave out the pepper and have “Three spice cake”. That’s more my thing. Or maybe just add about half as much pepper so that you still get a hint of pepper, but it isn’t the dominant flavor.

My husband, who is a pepper fanatic, really liked this cake. He loves the pepper and he too loved the icing. So, if you’d like to try something new that is easy, different, and not overly sweet, definitely give this cake a try. It might surprise you.

Find the recipe here

French Four Spiced Cake with Browned Butter Spice Frosting

Sunset Living

Cake

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • 2 large eggs
  • 11/3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp. quatre épices
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. each baking soda and salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Frosting

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. quatre épices
  • 2 tbsp. half-and-half
  • 1½ tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-in. square pan.

2. Make cake: Beat butter, brown sugar, and zest in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well blended. In another bowl, combine flour and other dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to butter mixture one-third at a time, alternating with buttermilk half at a time, and beating on low speed after each addition until blended. Spread batter in pan.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack, 10 minutes. Loosen cake from pan with a slender spatula, then invert onto a rack. Re-invert onto another rack; cool completely.

4. Make frosting: Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into a mixer bowl, let cool, then chill until firm enough to beat, about 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except for nuts and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, occasionally scraping inside of bowl.

5. Split cake horizontally with a long serrated knife. Lift off top layer with 2 wide spatulas. Set bottom layer on a platter, then spread with half of frosting. Replace top layer. Spread top of cake with remaining frosting, then sprinkle with nuts.

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