I got a new job a couple of weeks ago, which is great. I'm really enjoying it and it feels good to be doing chemistry again after my hiatus. I've also been out of town the last two weekends, so I've literally been going non-stop for the last 2 weeks. While I wasn't working I filled my days pretty well with cooking, baking, cleaning, exercising and blogging. Unfortunately, I'm barely keeping up with cooking, let alone everything else! This working thing ... I'm not so sure I like it so much :)
Anyway, this month's Daring Baker's challenge was fantastic. It was hosted by Jamie of Life's a Feast and Ria from Ria's Collection. The first time I read the challenge I knew it was going to be a good one. I love meringue but never thought of putting it into a loaf. It just melts into the bread and flavourings and is just ... well ... beautiful! I highly recommend it. I'll be making it again for sure!
Here's how I made it:
FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 package active dried yeast
3/8 cup whole milk
1/8 cup water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg at room temperature
1/2 tsp almond extract
For the meringue:
2 large egg whites at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sugar
100g slivered almonds
100g dried apples
2 tbsp cinnamon
150g dark chocolate, chopped
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 3/4 cups of flour remaining) 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.
Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.
Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – 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 almond extract then start adding the 1/4 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form. Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch rectangle. Spread the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges.
Oozing meringue. Yummmm!!!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.
This was really delish. The dough was lovely and the flavour and texture of the meringue was really nice. I would probably leave out the apples and chocolate next time I make it as the almonds and cinnamon were the nicest bits.
So next time you have company coming for tea, throw this together. You won't be disappointed!