Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Meringue Coffee Cake



Welcome to my 1st ever Daring Bakers Challenge.  


Before I started this blog I would always see Daring Kitchen recipes posted on websites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker. I joined DK shortly after I got Tastytablespoons up and running and this is the 1st challenge I've completed.  Daring Kitchen is a website that posts cooking & baking challenges all Daring Kitchen members to complete.  This months baking challenge was created by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast.  


This month's challenge was a coffee cake with a layer of meringue and fillings rolled up  inside.  The dough came together beautifully and the best part of this recipe is you can really be creative with your fillings. The coffee cake comes out light an fluffy and would work with just about anything. I used a mix of chocolate and cinnamon chips, pecans and Skor toffee pieces.  I covered it with drizzly caramel just to make sure it was sweet enough ;)  


Next time I'm going to go with cinnamon, sugar, raisins, and icing on top!


Enjoy!



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 (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour 
1⁄4 cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
3⁄4 teaspoon (5 g / 1⁄4 oz.) salt 
1 package (2 1⁄4 teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast 
3⁄4 cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
1⁄4 cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature) 
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

Filling:
1 C. Chocolate Chips
1/2 C. Cinnamon Chips
1/2 Skor Toffee Pieces
1 C. Pecans, chopped
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Caramel for topping (optional)

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 and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) 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 1⁄2 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 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 1⁄2 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 fillings of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon/chocolate chips followed by half the chopped nuts & toffee pieces. 

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 1⁄2 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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