28 April 2012

armenia, how could you have hidden this deliciousness from me for so long?

Armenia! This month's Daring Bakers Challenge hails from the little country nestled between Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran in Western Asia. Jason from Daily Candor chose to honor his Armenian heritage and gave us Nazook, a classic pastry and Armenian Nutmeg Cake.

Armenian Nutmeg Cake
I made them exactly according to his recipe and oh. my. goodness. They were absolutely delicious.

The Armenian cake had a delicious crumb crust on the bottom with a distinct nutmeg flavor (1 1/2 tsp worth!) and a subtle molasses-y undertone. (I assume because of the rather large amounts of brown sugar.) The walnuts covering it made the otherwise visually-boring cake rather fancy-schmancy looking. Ultimately it comes down to flavor, though, and this baby is going into the permanent recipe box. Highly recommend! (FYI:I did have to cook it for about an hour, which is 30 minutes longer than his suggested time.)

Nazook, right out of the oven.
This challenge was actually two recipes and while at first I was a bit bummed at having to do both, I had no idea what I was complaining about. I didn't even know Nazook existed nor how empty my life has been until now. The recipe is actually very simple, but the results. Oh the results. I'm closing my eyes as I'm remembering the decadence...mmmm...

The cool thing about the Nazook dough is that there was no liquid. It consists of flour, sour cream and butter. This makes for such a flaky crust. Yum. The filling is butter, flour, sugar and vanilla. Such simple ingredients. Such excellent results. Those little rolled-ed up, browned bites of heaven are so incredibly exceptional. Seriously. Under the word synergy in the dictionary, a picture of Nazook should reside.

Thank you, Armenia! Thank you!
You can find the recipes here on Jason's post at Daily Candor.

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.