Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Daring Bakers' March, 2011 Challenge: Yeasted 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.

I've made coffee cake before but never a yeast based one so this was a new method for me.  It tends to dry out quickly so is best if served on the day you make it.  While I made it with a chocolate chip filling, the filling possibilities are endless!  This would be a perfect addition for an Easter brunch! 
For the yeast coffee cake dough:  
4 cups (600g/1.5 lbs.) flour
1/4 cup (55g/ 2 oz.) sugar
3/4 teaspoon (5 g/ 1/4 oz) salt  
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons/7 g) active dry yeast
3/4 cup (180 ml/ 6 fl.oz) whole milk
1/4 cup (60 ml/ 2 fl. oz) water
1/2 cup (135 g/ 4.75 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
For the filling:
1 cup (110 g/ 4 oz) chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g/ 1 oz) sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g/ 6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate                                                                                                                    
Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups (230 g) 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.  With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended.  Increase mixer speed to  medium speed and beat 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
Using a wooden spoon (I used my Kitchenaid mixer) 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 1/2 cups of the flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is soft, smooth,and elastic.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat all sides.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, about 45-60 minutes.                                                                                                                                
Prepare your filling:
In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling.  You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but it was easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.

Once the dough had doubled, make the 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 1/2 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.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 a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).                                                                        

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.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Your coffee cake looks great, love all the chocolate chips in the center of the meringue. Nice job on the challenge!