Daring Bakers, March 2011: Meringue Coffee Cake

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.

FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

Ingredients

For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups flour
¼ cup  sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 package (7 g) active dried yeast
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup water
135 g unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar

For the filling:

100 g chopped pistachios (shelled beforehand, of course! or buy them shelled and packed)
100gm dreid cranberries
100gm grated 70% chocolate
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg

Directions:
Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ 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. 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.

Using a wooden spoon, 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 ½ cups of flour remaining as required) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed. I used pretty much all the flour.

Place dough in a greased bowl and leave to rise for an hour or so. (Until it doubles)

Filling:
Combine all ingredients.  Try not to eat too much of it.

Meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl 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 ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form. 

Assembly:
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 50x25cm rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 3 cm from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling evenly over the meringue. Now, 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 (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but 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.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

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.

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