Sunday, January 27, 2019

Penuche Coffee Cake

Outside of chocolate fudge, I believe the next favorite flavor of fudge is Penuche. Penuche is basically a brown sugar fudge. There are sometimes add ins like coconut and pecans, which makes this fudge even more irresistible.

This particular recipe for coffee cake incorporates the flavor of penuche as a filling. It also has the particular add in as mentioned above. The filling in the cake is not as thick as fudge, it more resembles the texture of the typical icing you find on a German chocolate cake. The base of the cake is a fluffy yeast bread that just takes a few hours to rise. Outside of this delicious combination, the crowning touches are lots of streusel and a white icing drizzle.

The amount of filling in this cake is more than the norm, which I consider a plus. This insures that you get some crunchy pecans and moist coconut in every bite. That factor is what makes this recipe extra special. The original information is below and there are tips and notes at the end to help your bake be successful.

Penuche Coffee Cake
adapted from this old hen website

Pastry Ingredients:
3/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup warm water
1 egg (room temp)
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/3 cup instant mashed potatoes (mixed with 1/3 cup warm water)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening, cut in small cubes
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour

Penuche Filling Ingredients:
3/4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
7 oz sweetened coconut
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (room temp)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Streusel Ingredients:
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
pinch of salt

Icing Drizzle Ingredients
2 tbs water
2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

The bread base is the first component. Start by sprinkling the yeast over the surface of the warm water. Then stir a few times. The mixture will develop a foam on the surface after 10 minutes. At this stage, add mashed potato mixture, egg, shortening, milk, salt and sugar. Whisk together with a fork and use it to mash the shortening on the inside of the bowl so it is the size of peas.

Prepare a 9x13 inch rectangle pan or a 12 inch round pan by buttering the interior. If you have a 12 inch springform pan, that will work also. Set pan aside.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in 1 cup of the flour. When that is thoroughly blended, fold in the second cup and blend, then do the same with the last cup. Dust a flat surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough and knead for 5 minutes, kneading in the remaining 1/2 cup of the flour. Shape into a ball and cover dough lightly and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This should take about one hour.

During the rise time, prepare the filling. Place a saucepan over low heat and fill with the butter. Continue to cook until butter is completely melted. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and the egg. Pour in with the butter. Then add both types of sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir together and switch heat to medium high. Mixture will thicken as it cooks. For the right consistency, cook for about 12-15 minutes, watching and stirring ocassionally. Lastly, stir in pecans and coconut, making sure coconut clumps are broken up. Transfer mixture to a heat proof bowl and place in refrigerator until needed.

After the dough has doubled, dust the flat surface again with flour. Remove dough from bowl and punch down. Roll out to about 1 inch more than the interior of your prepared pan. Then lightly press it into the pan covering the bottom and the sides up to the top edge.

Cover lightly with a towel and let the dough rise in the pan for one hour or until doubled in size.

As it rises, prepare the streusel. Fill a food processor with all the ingredients and pulse until all is combined and mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.After the pan rise time is completed, press down dough in bottom and sides of pan. Empty bowl of filling into the pan. Using a spatula, smooth the filling out evenly,
covering the entire interior bottom and reaching to all corners of the dough. Then evenly sprinkle on the streusel clumps. Place cake pan on a baking sheet and put in preheated oven. Bake until edges of dough are golden, about 35-45 minutes.

Remove pans and place cake pan on a rack to cool completely. Once cool, prepare the icing by whisking together the water and sifted powdered sugar. If the cake was baked in round form, invert onto serving platter by inverting twice. The streusel should be face up. If baked in the 9X13 inch pan, cake can be served from pan. Drizzle or use a squirt bottle to ice the cake. Wait 30 minutes for icing to set.  

Tips and Notes:
1. I used parchment on the 9x13 inch pan so I could pull the cake out of the pan. It got too wet and tore, so it is best to leave it in the pan to serve.

2. The streusel was more dough than crumble, so I added 2/3 cup more flour to get it the right consistency.

3.The cake did not bubble over when baking, so the pan on the bottom was just a precaution.

4.The original recipe listed a egg for the filling ingredients yet instructed to add egg yolks but nowhere did it say to add egg. I used just an egg and it turned out fine.
                            **LAST YEAR: Chocolate Tequila Sundae**