Friday, 27 April 2012

Daring Bakers' April' 2012 Challenge : Nazook

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake (will post the recipe later). Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.

                                                              Nazook with almond filling

                                              Armenian nutmeg cake with pistachios on top

This is my third bake for the Daring Bakers' (see first and second) and m so glad for being  a part of this awesomely genius and always inspiring community (which actually makes me realize, time and again, how much loads out there I still have to learn!). The wonderful part which I loved about this month's challenge was that it showed us a glimpse of the Armenian culture (I bet 90% of us,after reading about this month's challenge, immediately googled to know more about the Armenian food) and thank you Jason for sharing these wonderful recipes.

According to Jason- Nazook is a crisp, but soft, and buttery, sweet, but not too sweet pastry that's a traditional favourite among Armenians. Armenians prepare it usually around the time of Easter and it is eaten for 40 days through Ascension.

Nazzok in Hindi means tender or soft. This pastry is exactly that, it is so buttery soft (and tender of course :D) that it will literally melt in your mouth. This is an excellent pastry that can be eaten practically anytime of the day. It particularly goes well with coffee or tea. At my household we loved it with our afternoon cuppa. The pastry takes a while to prepare since the dough needs to sit in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight), but the time and effort taken to make this wonderful golden pastry can be more than justified with every bite of baked goodness.

Click here for video instructions by Jason's Aunt Aida

Pastry Dough
3 cups (420 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
2½ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) sour cream (I used fresh homemade yogurt)
1 cup (225 grams) softened butter (room temperature)

1 1/2 cups  (210 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted (I used 100 grams almond meal and 110 grams all purpose flour)
1 1/2 cups (340 grams) sugar
3/4 cup (170 grams) softened butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

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


Make the Pastry Dough
Place the sifted flour into a large bowl. Add the dry yeast, and mix it in. Add the sour cream, and the softened butter. Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough. If using a standing mixer, switch to a dough hook. If making manually, continue to knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands. If it remains very sticky, add some flour, a little at a time.
Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.

Make the filling
Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla extract. Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.

Make the nazook
Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4. 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
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 some of pastry dough uncovered (1 inch/2.5 cm) along the long edges.
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.
Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown. Allow to cool and enjoy!


  1. gosh, where is armenia? i havent even heard of armenian food, glad that you took part in the event and made this to bring awareness of these armenian desserts to us! sounds like a very nice buttery dessert!

    1. Yes Lena the pastry was really good. a definitely "keeper" recipe.

  2. I am so impressed - you made both desserts, and they both look so delicious!! Wonderful job!

    1. Thanx Shelly. and no-way I would have skipped this amazing opportunity to try out two awesome desserts :D

  3. I didn't make the connection with Armenian and Hindi. Where is the connection? I must be so uneducated!!! I do know what I love though and these Nazook were delicious! Yours look yum!

    1. "Nazook" in hindi means soft and tender. Like I will describe a rose petal as "nazook". I don't know what it means in Armenian :D, but I loved the sweet

  4. This sounds interesting! I almost wanted to join The Daring Bakers but am so committed with others that I do not have the time! I have heard of Armenian bread and seen this in some bloggers post. Looks really good, buttery? Then I'm sold! Cuppa tea with this? Lovely!!

  5. Hi Anuja , this is something new and interesting ;) ... you are kind of adventurous ....I love the award, I was visiting your blog when I saw the award even before you informing me ;) LOL.....

  6. Kudos for making both! Very daring :) and what a result!
    Pozdrawiam, Anula.

  7. Your cake and nazook looks lovely! I wish I had a chance to make the nazook! :)

  8. Wow! You've done again! Two dessert at the same time & I'm really impressed! Look fantastic both your bakes! So tempting! YUM! :)

  9. Thanks for stopping by, this nazook looks delicious! Your website is quite pretty too!

  10. Oh my gosh, that looks heavenly! The top even reminds me of phyllo pastries a bit.

  11. These are amazing. Just my sort of thing. Thank you for sharing these excellent recipies X

  12. Hi Anuja, your Nazook look delicious and tempting. Look like to die for type of dessert, love the crispy pastry. :)

    Have a nice day, hugs. Amelia


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)

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