It's my turn to host this month and I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we have! I can't remember how I found the recipe, I think the pastry was recommended to me by a friend and then I googled different variations. And there are many out there. This is made in Armenia, Assyria, (Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria) and other countries and is known as Nazook, Nazukeh, Gata, and I'm sure other names as well. It is popular all year and a favorite of tourists, as well as being traditionally baked for Easter in some areas and eaten through Ascension, some 40 days later. I found the recipe online but later found it comes from an Assyrian cookbook, so that is the source I have linked.
The second time I made these I used spelt flour for the filling, but found that the filling bubbled out much more than using all purpose flour, which surprised me because the starch is the same in spelt. But next time, and there will be more times, I will either use more spelt for the hydration issue, or stick to all purpose. I haven't tried adding rose water, which is often used and I think would be delicious. The cardamom alone makes the house smell sublime.
They are absolutely wonderful eaten warm, either reheated or with a cup of hot tea or coffee. We would love for you to bake along with us! Just bake your version of this bread by March 30th and send me a note with your results and a picture or link to your post at eleyana(AT)aol(DOT)com with Buddy Bread in the subject line and I will include you in our buddy round up at the beginning of next month and send you a Buddy badge graphic to keep and/or add to your post. You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture is fine! Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results, new recipes are posted every month on the 16th.
You can probably halve this recipe but I suspect you would regret it once you tasted them... They do freeze!
from Mom's Authentic Assyrian Recipes
makes 48 pastries
2¼ tsp (7g) active dry yeast (I used 2 tsp instant yeast)
1 cup (227g) sour cream
3¼ cups (390g) sifted flour
½ tsp (3 g) salt (My celtic sea salt weighs 2g for ½ tsp)
1 cup (226g) chilled, unsalted butter
1 tbsp (12g) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5g) lemon juice
1 cup (226g) butter, melted (+ 3tbsp melted, optional)
2 cups (240g) sifted flour
1 cup (198g) sugar
1 cup (113g) walnuts, finely chopped
1 tsp (5g) vanilla
1 tsp (2g) cardamom
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp (5g) yogurt
Dough: If using active dry yeast, add to the sour cream and stir in. Set aside for 10 minutes. If using instant yeast, add to flour. Combine flour, salt and butter and blend with your fingers until crumbly. Optionally, you can grate the cold butter on a wide cheese grater, which makes it very easy to incorporate into the flour. Add egg, oil, lemon juice, and sour cream and mix until incorporated. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes, or until no longer sticky. Add more flour if necessary. (I did end up adding another 60g flour the first time when baking by weight, but not the second time when I did half spelt and half all purpose by volume). Form into a ball, and to follow tradition, mark with a +, symbolizing a cross. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 5 hours, or overnight.
Filling: Mix flour, sugar, walnuts, and cardamom. Add vanilla to melted butter and pour slowly into flour mixture while stirring. Stir until the mixture is smooth. (Mine ended up a beautiful streusel consistency, at first a paste and then nice and crumbly as it cooled.)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Assembly: Melt the 3 extra tablespoons of butter and set aside. Take dough from refrigerator and divide into 8 equal portions. (I did this and the filling by weight.) Roll each dough ball into a 10 x 6” rectangle.
Brush with melted butter. (I found that the filling adhered to the dough just fine without the added butter and since there is a full pound in the recipe, decided it was fine to leave this step out. Was going to try with but I forgot the second time. Oops!) Spread 1/8th of the filling over each rectangle, leaving a ½-inch border.
Cover with a piece of parchment paper. Press down lightly with your hands, so that the filling adheres to the dough.
Fold the edges in ½-inch over the filling.
Roll into a cylinder.
Gently flatten with the palms of your hands. (Do this because they puff quite a lot in the oven.)
Cut each roll into 6 pieces and arrange on 2 parchment lined cookie sheets.
Brush liberally with the egg glaze. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Excellent with coffee or hot tea. (My oven runs hot and even baking at a lower temp, mine were done in 25 minutes.)
Not too sweet, just sweet enough!
They do also come in a large cake for sharing, I tried that out too.
I don't think it is supposed to have quite as much filling as I put in, but it looks amazing, and a slice about ½" wide is quite sufficient.
The rest of the Bread Baking Babes:
- Blog from OUR Kitchen – Elizabeth
- Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy
- Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen
- My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna
- Bread Experience - Cathy
- Thyme for Cooking - Katie
- My Kitchen in Half Cups - Tanna
- Bake My Day - Karen
- Feeding My Enthusiasms - Elle