Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pecan Coffeecake

The thing that most people enjoyed about this coffeecake was the flavor of the cake part, not the filling or the topping.  The two pecan elements were good, but the extra flavor of the cake was a delicious surprise. Usually most coffeecakes are plain, letting the filling and topping be the highlight of flavor.  We all have experienced that plain bite of coffeecake, you know, the one that has no filling or much topping with it.  So, since filling and topping in every bite is hard to guarantee, the next best thing is to make the cake taste delicious on its own.

This recipe uses lemon zest in the batter, which paired nicely with the pecan filling.  Yet if that was not enough, the icing has espresso in it. So, if your standard breakfast has reached that blah stage, change it up with this coffeecake. It will definitely make for a better morning.

Pecan Coffeecake
adapted from My Great Recipe Cards

Ingredients/ Cake
1 egg
1/2 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
1/4 cup butter (room temp)
5 tbs cold butter, cut into cubes
2 tbs shortening
2/3 cup bread flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
grated zest from one lemon
1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients/ Filling
1/3 cup butter
3 tbs shortening
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Ingredients/ Topping
1 egg mixed with 1 tbs water (egg glaze)
2 tsp hot water
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
whole pecans for placing on top

For the cake, sprinkle yeast in warm milk.  Stir with a fork until yeast has dissolved.  Fold in 2/3 cups of the flour.  Cover and set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat together butter, sugar and shortening until fluffy.  Add the egg, salt and lemon zest and beat for 30 seconds on medium speed.  Then stir in yeast/flour mixture, set aside. Fill another bowl with the remaining 1 1/4 cups of bread flour.  Using a pastry blender, cut the butter cubes into the flour until it is crumbly and the clumps are about pea sized.  Then add the yeast/flour mixture, stirring until all is blended and it forms a dough.  Cover and let dough chill for 2 hours.

While dough is chilling, the filling can be made.  Beat the butter and shortening together until light and creamy.  Using a handheld mixer on medium speed, mix in the dark brown sugar.  Then fold in the chopped pecans.  Lastly, stir in the flour until evenly distributed.  Also, prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

Prepare a flat surface by dusting with flour.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and knead dough on surface about 18 turns.  Divide dough in half.  Roll one piece of dough into a rectangle, measuring about 10X14 inches.  Take out 1/2 of the filling and spread down the center of the length of the dough, leaving about a 2 1/2 inch border on either side. Fold borders of dough over the top of the dough that is spread with filling.  Overlap each side by 1/4 of an inch, pinching the center of the dough together to seal.  Also, to further seal the dough, take a rolling pin and lightly roll over the top in a few strokes. Flip sealed dough over and center on a prepared baking sheet.  Repeat process with the remaining dough and filling.

Make 1/2 inch slashes on each side of the length of each coffeecake.  Use a knife and prick the top of the dough.  Brush with the egg glaze and place pecans decoratively on top.  Let cakes rise on baking sheets for 30 minutes.  During the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once rise time is completed, bake cakes for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.  Remove and let cool for 15 minutes before icing.  Let cakes stay on baking sheet until completely cool.

The icing can be started by dissolving the espresso powder in the hot water.  Then stir in powdered sugar until smooth.  Drizzle over the top of each cake.

Tips and Notes:
1. This coffeecake can be made thinner by rolling out to a wider shape after the dough has been folded over the filling. This will create a thinner type of pastry that will be more crispy as compared to the one in the above picture.
2. Watch the hue of the dough while baking.  The first one I baked came out too dark.  The one in the picture was covered in foil halfway through baking so it would not get too brown. 
                                    **TWO YEARS AGO: Berry Meringue Slices**