Nazouk is a crisp, buttery, sweet, but not too sweet, Armenian pastry. It looks like the filling is soft and oozing out of the pastry, but the filling is crumbly. A delicious contrast to the light, flaky layers of pastry.
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. I opted to make the Nazook, but the Daring Bakers loved the Nutmeg cake, so I’ll have to make that soon too.
The challenge recipe used vanilla sugar in the filling. I thought it would be fun to change it up a bit and used citrus sugar. In half of the pastry I also added dried cranberries.
I made the Nazook to take to a shower for Annalise, Completely Delicious. (She delivered her beautiful baby boy yesterday! Congrats! I’m so happy for her.)
There’s always a little bit of pressure making something new to take to a food bloggers get together. But I didn’t need to worry, it’s a wonderful recipe and the bloggers, my family and I loved the Nazook. It really is sooooo good.
Jason posted a video of his sweet Aunt Aida making the Nazook. The link also includes the original recipe and step by step photos. Visit the Daring Kitchen to see all the fabulous pastries and cakes the Daring Bakers baked up this month.
Citrus Cranberry Nazook, an Armenian Pastry
- 2 ½ - 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ¼ teaspoons 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup 2 sticks softened butter (room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour sifted
- ¾ cup softened butter room temperature
- 1 cup dried cranberries Craisins or raisins, optional
- 1-2 egg yolks for the wash; alternatively, some yogurt, egg whites, or a whole egg
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine 2 ½ cups flour, yeast and salt. Mix in sour cream and softened butter to form a soft dough.
- Switch to the dough hook and mix in the remaining flour a little at a time, to make a soft dough that’s not sticky to the touch, adding more or less flour as needed.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight.
- Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, mix well.
- Mix flour, 1 ½ cups cinnamon sugar and softened butter in a medium bowl. (Reserve some cinnamon sugar to use later.) Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the refrigerated dough into four equal pieces.
- On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle. The dough should be thin, but not transparent.
- Spread ¼ of the filling mixture across the rolled-out dough in an even layer. Spread the filling to the edges on the short sides, keeping 1 inch of pastry dough uncovered along the long edges. Sprinkle cranberries (raisins) evenly over the top, if using.
- Start at the long edge and slowly rolling the dough in to a log. Making sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Roll all the way across until you have a long, thin loaf.
- Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit). Apply egg wash with a pastry brush. Sprinkle on a tablespoon of cinnamon sugar.
- Use your crinkle cutter (or serrated knife) to cut the loaf into 8 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper).
- Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool complete.