Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blueberry Coffee "Cake"

This week I decided to cook to the theme presented by America's Test Kitchen Fresh Food Challenge: Blueberries. I made a blueberry pie - in fact I made two and I will post them separately. For the challenge though, I made a different recipe because pie seemed like a default choice. One of the other choices in the Blue Ribbon Desserts cookbook was a coffee cake with a berry filling. Reading the recipe though, it wasn't really a cake so much as a cinnamon roll style dough wrapped around berries. Sounded yummy anyway. I was already taking the day off work for personal appointments, so after those were over, I went shopping and got to work. Since the dough makes two "cakes", I made the berry filing and the almond cream-cheese version. The recipe gives instructions for freezing one of the cakes, but I chose instead to give half of each to my neighbour.  :) 

Blueberry Ring Coffee "Cake" (from Cook's Country Blue Ribbon Desserts)

Makes 2 rings
Blueberry Filling
2 1/2cups fresh blueberries
3tablespoons sugar 
1 1/2
tablespoons fresh lemon juice
tablespoons water
tablespoons cornstarch
pinch salt
Almond Filling
1tube almond paste (7-ounce)
1/2cup confectioners' sugar 
4ounces cream cheese , softened
1 1/3cups warm milk (110 degrees)
1/3cup honey 
8tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
3large egg yolks (reserve whites for topping)
2teaspoons vanilla extract 
4 1/2cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for work surface
1package  rapid-rise yeast (or instant)
2teaspoons salt 

1 1/2cups confectioners' sugar 
2ounces cream cheese 
1/2teaspoon vanilla extract 
2tablespoons milk 
3large egg whites 
1/2cup sliced almonds 
1/2teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 1/2cups confectioners' sugar 
2ounces cream cheese 

1. For the berry filling: Stir all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and shiny, about 2 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before putting on the dough. 
(If you use almond filling: Fit standing mixer with paddle attachment and mix almond paste, confectioners' sugar, and cream cheese until smooth. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.)
Almond cream cheese filling
2. For the dough: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, shut oven off. Lightly grease large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.
3. Mix milk, honey, melted butter, yolks, and vanilla in large measuring cup. Mix flour, yeast, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn mixer to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. (Dough will be sticky.) Turn dough onto heavily floured work surface, shape into ball, and transfer to greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough is nearly doubled, about 20 minutes. 
4. On lightly floured work surface, divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll dough into 18 by 9-inch rectangle with long side facing you. Spread with half of filling and roll up dough. 
Rectangle of dough with blueberry filling.
I trimmed excess dough to get exact measurement using a ruler.
The engineer in me couldn't resist. 
Brush top edge with water, then press to seal and transfer, seam side down, to parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Shape each cylinder into ring. Using paring knife, make cuts around outside of dough and shape as shown in photos 3 and 4.
Dough in ring shape, and notched with grooves 1 1/2 inches apart
Almond ring on the left, cut in 1 inch pieces.
Excess dough was rolled and filled with extra almond filling.
Blueberry ring on right, cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces.
5. Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray and return to oven until rings have puffed slightly, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and heat oven to 375 degrees.
6. For the topping: Whisk reserved egg whites in small bowl, then brush rings with egg whites. Sprinkle with almonds and bake until deep brown, about 25 minutes, switching and rotating pans halfway through baking. While rings are baking or cooling, whisk confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, milk, and vanilla in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle icing over baked coffee cakes and serve warm.
Oops I forgot about the topping!! These were gone within a day so what they don't know.....

Tip for freezing the second coffee ring if you decide to: 
A Coffee Cake in the Freezer
To freeze one coffee cake: Transfer shaped ring (prepared through step 4) to large plate and wrap in two layers of plastic and then foil. (Unbaked ring can be frozen for up to 1 month.) The night before baking, transfer frozen ring to refrigerator. The next day, unwrap ring and transfer it to baking sheet lined with parchment paper that has been greased with cooking spray. Proceed with step 5, letting dough rise in oven that has been heated to 200 degrees and then turned off. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with almonds, bake (on middle rack), cool, and ice as directed.

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