Nutmeg Pecan Chocolate Meringue Babka Ring
Having made this Chocolate Babka with almond paste & dark chocolate filling and these meringues I knew I wanted to create a babka borrowing flavors from both goodies. I used the original recipe combined with several different recipes found on the Internet to come up with an almost working formula for this loaf: Nutmeg Pecan Chocolate Meringue Goodness in lightly sweet rich bread (not brioche). I also shape the dough into a ring because I’ve never done it before and because it looks so pretty with the slashes open showing the inside.
For The Dough:
300 g all-purpose flour
50 g finely ground pecan (toast the pecan if you like)
50 g/1/4 Cup of sugar (I use evaporated cane juice)
128 g water or a combination of water and milk (I use 38 g water and 90 g of milk)
4 Tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
60 g egg/1 large egg , plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/8 tsp instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Meringue :
2 medium-size egg white, at room temperature
50 g sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
For the Filling:
55 g / ½ Cup pecan, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon of sugar
¼ teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
75 g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I used 72 percent cocoa chocolate)
For the Egg wash:
1 egg yolk
Mix all the ingredients, except butter, in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment at low-speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and mix dough until it reaches well gluten development. Lower the speed, beat in the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat until dough is shiny and forms strands from paddle to bowl, about 4 minutes. (Dough will be very soft and sticky.)
Scrape dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Line a large baking sheet with a large piece of parchment paper. Punch down dough with a lightly oiled rubber spatula. Roll out the piece of dough on a well-floured surface with a lightly floured rolling-pin into an 21- by 10-inch rectangle and arrange with a long side nearest you.
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt in a bowl with an electric mixer at high-speed until they hold soft peaks. Add sugar a little at a time, beating, then continue to beat at high-speed until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks, 1 to 3 minutes.
Beat the egg yolk. Brush some of egg wash on long border nearest you.
Spread the meringue and sprinkle the filling evenly on the dough as shown in the above picture. Starting with long side farthest from you, roll dough into a snug log, pinching firmly along egg-washed seam to seal. Bring ends of log together to form a ring, pinching to seal. Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet. Make slashes one inch apart and a half-inch from the inner circle, as shown.
Chill remaining egg wash, covered, to use later. Loosely cover the shaped dough with buttered plastic wrap (buttered side down) and let babka rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough well expand , 1 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours; bring to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours, before baking.)
Put oven rack in middle place and preheat oven to 350°F.
Brush tops of dough with remaining egg wash. Bake until tops are deep golden brown, about 40 minutes. Transfer loaves to a rack and cool to room temperature.
Either the dough was soft and not strong enough to hold the filling or I put too much filling. The filling spilled out when I rolled the dough sheet; it was an awful sticky mess. Dough had a weak elasticity so when rolled out thin it could not hold the filling in. It was a total panic wrestling it from the work surface to the prepared sheet pan and shaped into a ring! The chocolate pieces, meringue, nut, & nutmeg spice kept spilling out clinging to my hands and from there back to the dough’s skin side as I was shaping it..staining the dough all over… Ahhgggrrr! At some point I thought the loaf would end up on the floor. I couldn’t even recall how I got it on the baking sheet with my two little hands for the loaf of that size. And I even took some pictures? How did it all happen? I created this way back in November of last year. Since then my mind had been altered, no wonder I could not remember anything that far back. ;o)
Despite of the messy shaped dough, the baked babka turned out okay. The widest part of the ring was way over 5 inches. It’s all cooked.
How does it taste? Well, the creaminess from the meringue, egg & butter together with the exotic blend of nutmeg & coarsely ground pecan nut swirled in melted dark chocolate layered between sheets of lightly sweet starch offer a heavenly sweetness come together in one bite. This is quite addictive.
This is how I like to eat it, in bite-size morsels. It can be served at breakfast, lunch or as a dessert.
Well, the flavor turned out as what I had hope for. I like this sweet bread a lot. In fact, I ate the whole thing over the course of a few days. I’d like to share it but there wasn’t anybody around then.
I am sending this to this week’s Yeast Spotting. Please go there to check out many other baked goods by yeast enthusiasts around the world.