Coffee cake is a breakfast staple. I love it but it is always super heavy and extremely sugary. Not that heavy sugar is a terrible thing but lets be honest, sometimes it is just toooo much in the morning.
I found a photo and recipe for this beautiful braided pastry and the picture alone made me decide: "this is my next creation!".
It turned out so gorgeous and is the perfect breakfast coffee cake. It is light and fluffy, still has the coffee cake taste but is filled with almond filling and topped with almond slivers. This recipe is a little bit more difficult and time consuming to make but the finished product will impress your friends and family so much! Having brunch soon? Give this recipe a try! You will have everyone raving and thinking you are a professional!
1/2 cup warm whole milk
1 teaspoon, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cold large eggs
3/4 cup cold whole milk
3 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into slices (long ways)
1/4 cup AP flour
(this is great practice if you want to make croissants sometime!)
1. Pour the warm milk into a small bowl and whisk in 1 teaspoon sugar. Whisk in the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and looks bubbly.
2. In stand mixer, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, eggs and cold milk. Whisk the yeast mixture into the egg mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cardamom. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Attach the dough hook and mix on lowest speed for 2 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
3. Dust a work surface with flour and knead the dough 3-4 times to finish bringing it together. The dough will not be smooth or elastic, it will become fully kneaded and sooth during the rolling and turning process. Don't overwork the dough now. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
4. Make the butter block. Toss strips of butter with flour and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5. Dust your work surface with flour. Set the dough in the center and dust the top with flour. Roll the dough into a 15" x 12" rectangle with a short side parallel to the edge of your work place. Gently pull the edges to make straight corners and edges. Visually divide the dough into 3 equal sections, 5" wide. Spread the butter strips evenly over the top two sections, leaving the bottom section empty.
5. Fold the empty bottom section up and over the center third of the dough. Fold the top section down over the center section. Pinch together the seams along the bottom and sides. Roll your pin across the top of the dough lightly and gently 3-4 times to seal the dough. That is your first turn. If the dough has become warm, cover and place in fridge for 30 minutes. If not, continue with the second turn.
6. Roll the dough out into a 20"x12" rectangle. Fold the dough using the "book fold method". Fold the two short end sections in to meet at the center of the dough. Leave a small 1/4" crevice between them. Line up the edges and square the corners. Now fold one side over the other, as if you were closing a book. Seal the seams and roll the pin over it again.
7. Cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Repeat step # 5 and # 6. Your dough is complete!!
Almond Filling Ingredients:
4 ounces almond paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 large egg
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons AP flour
1. Cut the almond paste into pieces and put into a food processor. Add the sugar and mix until the paste is cut into small pieces. Add the butter and process until well blended. Scrape down and add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla. Finally, add the flour and mix again.
Coffee Cake Assembly:
1. Dust your work surface with flour and place the dough in the center. Roll into an 8"x12" rectangle. Transfer to your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Note: this might be too large for one baking sheet, so cut the dough in half and make two!
2. Mark a 2 inch wide strip right down the middle of your dough. This is where the filling will go. On either side of this filling area, make diagonal cuts in the dough about 3" long and 1" wide.
3. Spread your almond filling down the middle.
4. Braid the dough by crossing alternate strips starting at the top and moving down. Press the ends to seal it and tuck them under slightly.
5. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.
6. While it rests you can combine confectioners' sugar and water to make a glaze for the danish when it is finished.
7. Put dough in freezer to firm up the butter for 10 minutes.
8. Brush dough with and egg wash and sprinkle slivered almonds over the top.
9. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.
GOOD LUCK AND ENJOY!! :)