Saturday, May 15, 2004

Nazook?

I stopped by a Middle-eastern Grocery last night next to the Lebanese restaurant to purchase some Turkish delight, and found this amazing pastry... Nazook! From what I can find on-line, it appears that Nazook is an Armenian pastry. From what I've eaten so far... they are a strudel-like exterior with a soft doughy filling. I'm guessing that this filling is high in dairy (butter and sour-cream), but what delight with strong black coffee.

Nazook or Choreg (an Armenian Sweet Pastry)
http://atlanticville.gmnews.com/News/2001/1115/Front_Page/028.html

And I finally found a recipe (here):

CHOREG (Armenian Sweet Roll)

7 cups flour

2 to 3 teaspoons salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon mahleb (see note)

1-1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup sugar

2 packages rapid-rise yeast

1/2 cup warm water

4 large eggs

Sesame and black seeds for garnish

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and mahleb.

In a medium saucepan, heat milk until hot. Add butter, shortening and sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add a bit of sugar to activate the yeast. The mixture should become foamy.

Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the eggs and the milk mixture to the flour. Pour in the activated yeast. Stir to blend well.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should be slightly sticky, not dry.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Pat top of dough with a bit of oil to prevent sticking to aluminum foil. Cover the bowl with foil and then a dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Break off a small amount of dough and shape into pretzels or braids.

Put rolls on a baking sheet and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or nigella (black seeds, see note). Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: Mahleb is a spice made from ground cherry pits. Sev gundeegs are tiny black seeds that have a faint anise flavor.

Both are available in grocery stores that sell Middle Eastern or Greek foods.

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