Nazook / Armenian pastry and Armenian nutmeg cake with cardamom and Pecans

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I have been out from Daring baker’s challenge for a long time, during pregnancy with my prince; first three month was full of morning sickness and then bleeding scares made my life complicated. Then after that I was even tired to cook, something which is a daily routine for me. Last month I made bread, but Dutch crunch looked like some failed   artwork, and taste was not that exciting. So I threw the entire bread in the garbage can. 
I was curious as always what is this month’s challenge was. It turned out that this month daring baker’s challenge was hosted by Jason of, he challenged to make an Armenian pastry and Armenian nutmeg cake. Since it is about food from a country which I am not familiar I decide to try them. Further it was an easy recipe.  As both are sweet I like to make them between few weeks as if I make the two together, then I have to finish it  as a punishment, my hubby won’t touch, little one try to eat  25 %  of  piece and  put 75%  pieces  on flour. She follows strict rule that, she will feed entire ant population around our house. On the top of if an  ant comes near to me I get swelling where it touch and I will be scratching skin for hours leading to blisters and finally bleeding. So why in the world I am entertaining myself to ant bite.
I also read a lot about Armenian nutmeg cake, since nutmeg is favorite spice. The common fragrant nutmeg Myristica fragrans,  originated from Banda islands of Indonesia, it also grows in spice land of India, Kerala. We add this spice to our spice mixture gram masala as well as sweet dishes like Boli (stuffed sweet flat bread).  If nutmeg is used in low quantities it is fine as in culinary uses, if it is used in large quantities, it is known to affect brain functions read from here
I used freshly grated nutmeg as powder known to lose charm when stored for a long time. I only made a 6 inch cake and reduced ¼ cup of sugar, still it is sweet for us, and added whole egg as halving the egg is difficult. This cake consists of two layers, bottom crumb and upper cake. And in original recipe half of the ingredients are used to make bottom crumb layer, but when I read reviews in another board, I found out that if you put half of the ingredients crumb going to thicker and it is sometimes hard and even there is chance of losing tooth. Why hurt our already disturbed tooth. I used only 1/3 of the ingredients for the crumb and the rest I used for cake. Another point I found that we need to slightly beat the eggs to make the cake fluffy and prevent nuts on the top to stinking into the cake. Traditional nut used in this cake is walnuts however I used pecans. Added along with nutmeg added some cardamom to make it more aromatic.  Cake turned out very delicious. If I didn’t try this one, it will be real miss of a wonderful traditional recipe. 
Then another recipe given to try is Nazook/ an Armenian pastry. I know pastries are not good as they contain loads of butter. This one wins my heart because it is yeasted one. It has yeast and sour cream and you can make dough in one day and refrigerate and make rest of fillings and bake in second day. Again I halved the original recipe and made traditional filling which is vanilla, all-purpose flour, brown sugar and butter and another filling with sweetened coconut and cranberries. In order to prevent drying of sweetened coconut, egg white was used.  Yolk was used as egg wash along with yogurt.  I tried to reduce butter by 2 tablespoon from both dough and filling. I added ½ teaspoon of sugar in the dough to make yeast happy. 
My hubby told me he like coconut cranberries filling 52% and traditional dough filling 48%. That means both are good. It is hard to stop eating this little goodies one, you are going to eat few at a single sitting. These pastries are good companion for tea or coffee. Try it at least once.  Here goes the recipe. 
Print recipe from here
Nazook/ Armenian Pastry
What you need
Pastry dough
All purpose flour/Maida sifted: 1 ½ cups
Active dry yeast:  1 ¼ teaspoons
Sour cream: ½ cup 
Unsalted butter: 5 tablespoon (softened)
Sugar: 1 teaspoon*
Salt: 1/8 teaspoon *
Water: 2 tablespoon* 
* My addition


Traditional Version
All purpose flour, sifted: ¾ cup
Brown sugar: 1/3 cup
Unsalted butter: ¼ cup
Vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon

Filling  2 ( My version)

Sweetened coconut: ½ cup

Cranberries: ¼ cup
Egg white:  Of one egg
Vanilla extract : ½ teaspoon
1 egg yolks  with 1 tablespoon of yogurt

How I made

First day
Make the Pastry Dough
In a medium bowl add sifted flour with salt and set aside
In a small bowl add warm water 1 teaspoon sugar and active dry yeast, let it proof for 10 minutes and set aside.
In a kitchen aid mixer fitted with paddle attachment add sour cream and softened butter beat very well.
To this add yeast mixture and flour mixture; mix everything to form soft dough.
Switch to a dough hook, continue to 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.
 Cover the dough and refrigerate the overnight.

 Second day: Make the filling 1 
In a medium bowl mix the flour, sugar, vanilla extract and the softened butter   until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.

Filling 2
In a small bowl mix unsweetened coconut, cranberries, vanilla extract and egg white and set aside.

Make the Nazook
Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.  Line baking sheet with  silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
Cut the refrigerated dough into two equal pieces.
Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour. 
Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not transparent.
Spread first 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.
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
Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.
Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Continue process in second dough piece with second filling.

Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden
Allow to cool and enjoy! 

Preparation time:  Dough and filling preparation: 30 minutes. Dough chilling: overnight. Pastry prep: 30 minutes. Baking: 30 minutes.
Yield: 20 pieces
Verdict: Yummy
Will you  make it again: Yes I will
Armenian Nutmeg cake with Cardamom and Pecans
What you need

 All purpose flour/ Maida: 1 cup

Milk: ½ cup
Baking soda: ½ teaspoon
Baking powder: 1 teaspoon
Brown sugar: ¾ cup
Unsalted butter:  6 tablespoon
Nutmeg: 1 teaspoon (I used freshly grated nutmeg)
Egg: 1 no
Pecan: ¼ cup
Cardamom:  2nos

How I made

I made traditional way, if you want to do easy way you can done all mixing in the food processor.
Preheat your oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4. Lined and butter and flour 6 inch cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift together the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. One sift is fine.
Mix the baking soda (not baking powder; that’s for the next step) into the milk. Set it aside.
In a medium bowl add brown sugar and flour mixture and cubed butter. Then mix the butter with fork into the dry ingredients (you can also use your fingers if you want, I used my hands). You’ll want to achieve a more-or-less uniform, tan-colored crumbly mixture.
Take 1/3rd of this resulting crumbly mixture into 6 “cake pan. Press a crust out of it using your fingers and knuckles. Make sure that you won’t press to hard it makes crust to hard. (It will hard on tooth).
Crack an egg into a bowl. Beat egg for about few minutes and then toss the nutmeg along with egg and milk –baking soda mixture and set aside.
Start mixing slowly with a whisk attachment and then increase to medium speed, or mix with a hand whisk if you’re doing it manually. Once it’s mixed well and frothy (about 3 minute using a standing mixer, or about 2-3 minutes of vigorous beating with a whisk). Continue to mix until uniform.
 Pour in the rest of the crumbly mixture. Mix that well, with either a paddle attachment it won’t make much of a difference, since the resulting batter is very liquidy.
Pour the batter over prepared crust the base in the cake pan.
Gently place pecans over the batter.
Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the top is a golden brown, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan, and then release. Enjoy!

Preparation time: 50 minutes
Yield: 6 inch cake
Verdict: Yummy
Will you make it again: Yes I will

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  1. says

    My “expert” verdict is yummy, too! I love the pattern you made on the nutmeg cake, I believe it is the only one like this Ive seen (so far). Well done!

  2. says

    wow swathi.. you actually made both of them.. its fantastic :).. I was planning on Nazook, as it would be he traditional one..but the didn’t want to bake.. love the different flavor combo’s you have tried ! Man, with kids & such awesome bakes… u guys inspire me :)

  3. says

    First of all, welcome back and congratulations!!
    Your nutmeg cake turned out SO beautifully! And your nazooks look perfect. I love the cranberry coconut filling – I wish I could have a taste right now!!
    Wonderful work on the challenge!!

  4. says

    This is my first Daring Bakers Challenge and I surely enjoyed it. Both your cake and the nazook is perfectly done. I love the variation for the filing in nazook, awesome. Both have perfect glaze and top…good one. Jayanthi(

  5. says

    Great job Swathi. I completely agree with you, nazook is highly addictive. Love cranberry coconut filling.:) Your nutmeg cake with pecan cardamom ,WOW! Must try! :)

  6. says

    Both of these desserts look amazing! In the past I regretted that we weren’t neighbors, so I could bring you meals after you had your baby. Now I wish we were neighbors so I could be your official taste tester! :)