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Nazook is a crisp (but soft), buttery, and sweet (but not too sweet) pastry that's a traditional favorite among Armenians (maybe not so much among dieters—see the nutritional information at the end). It goes well with coffee or tea, or even hot chocolate. And, if you want to have a go at making it, you'll get nods of approval from little old Armenian ladies everywhere.
Since there are virtually no good recipes for nazook (also spelled nazouk or nazuk) online, I turned to the master pastry baker in my family, my Aunt Aida, who's been baking nazook for decades. Her nazook is absolutely perfect, much better than the best stuff you can buy in Glendale grocery stores. She graciously offered to show me how to make it, and she sent me home with 40 pieces of this pastry (yes, that sound you hear is the death knell of my weight loss efforts).
More About Nazook
A little on this pastry's background: Aida tells me that other Armenians eat nazook, too, but they might call it gata (gata is what Persian-Armenians reserve for a specific type of round cake). Armenians usually prepare it around the time of Easter, and it is eaten for 40 days through Ascension. I'm not sure it has any religious significance except that this time usually involves friends visiting each other, and nazook is a nice pastry to serve along with coffee or tea.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
5 hours 30 min
40 pieces of nazook
- 2 bowls
- 2 cookie sheets
- pastry brush
- rolling pin, or empty wine bottle
- crinkle cutter, or a sharp knife
- 4 1/2 cups (563 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 8 ounces (227 grams) sour cream
- 3 1/2 sticks (397 grams) softened butter (room temperature)
- 1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons or 7 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups (338 grams) sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 egg yolks (for the wash; alternatively, some yogurt, egg whites, or a whole egg)
Step 1: Make the Pastry Dough
- Sift 3 cups (375 grams) of the flour into a large bowl.
- Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
- Add the sour cream and 2 sticks (227 grams) of 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 to 5 hours.
Step 2: Make the Filling
- Mix together the remaining (1 1/2 cups, 188 grams) flour, the sugar, and the remaining (1 1/2 stick, 170 grams) softened butter.
- Add the vanilla extract.
- Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long.
Step 3: Make the Nazook
- 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 transparent.
- Spread 1/4 of the filling mixture across the rolled-out dough in an even layer.
- 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 the pieces onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Place in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.
- Allow to cool and enjoy!
Read More From Delishably
The pastry dough can be made with egg yolks instead of the sour cream, if you want a richer-hued pastry dough. Apparently this is the way my grandmother made it. You'd need to add enough yolks to achieve the same dough consistency as you would with the sour cream.
There are far more variations when it comes to the filling. Here are some common variations and additions (from traditional to less traditional):
- mahleb: a powder made from the pits of a type of cherry; it has an almond/cherry flavor
- ground walnuts
- ground hazelnuts
- ground almonds
|Recipe (40 pcs)||Piece|