Citrus Cranberry Nazook, an Armenian Pastry

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

Ingredients:

Pastry dough

  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter (room temperature)

Citrus Sugar

  • 2 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup softened butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, optional

Egg Wash

  • 1-2 egg yolks (for the wash; alternatively, some yogurt, egg whites, or a whole egg)

Directions:

Pastry Dough

Place the 2 1/2 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl.

Mix in the dry yeast and salt.

Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.

Use a standing mixer with a paddle attachment to work it into a dough.

Switch to a dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands. Add additional flour, a little at a time as needed.

Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight.

Citrus Sugar

Combine sugar and citrus rinds in a small bowl, mix well. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Filling

Mix flour, 1 1/2 cups citrus sugar and softened butter in a medium bowl.

Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.

Make the Nazook

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.

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 1/4 of the 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 1 inch of pastry dough uncovered along the long edges. Sprinkle cranberries evenly over the top, if using.

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 loaf.

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. Sprinkle on a tablespoon of citrus sugar.

Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 8 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper).

Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.

Allow to cool and enjoy!