I recently wrote about how I do my best recipe development while driving the car. I also do some of my best baking when I am stressed out – it is a good thing I don’t often stress, or I’d be as big as the kitchen! There is something about precise measuring of ingredients and kneading dough that completely brings me down to a calm existence. The beginning of February I have completely swept away with stress over work, finishing up the year-end, and life, in general. Working on this recipe for Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Krantz Cakes made me all zen, and transported me to an utterly happy place.
Now that the first quarter of the year is just about over, and our ducks are all in place as well first of the year hiccups tucked away, things are back to normal. I can breathe, focus and attempt to do it all. Chez Us is slowly getting more organized; recipes being updated with printable pages, and I am even reshooting a few old favorites. It is all a work in progress, so please bear with us while we continue to clean house. Work is lining up nicely for the year, which is good as it was a bit shaky at first, and we leave for our first business trip soon. We feel excited about possibilities and wild temptations that are enticing us for 2015!
This recipe for Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Krantz Cakes was inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi and his gorgeous cookbook Jerusalem. I am a huge fan of his cookbooks and have fallen deeply in love with every recipe I have made. Divine, delicious, and the recipes take you to far away lands. I always imagine walking through middle eastern markets, taking in the colors, cultures, and the spices as I cook each one. Dreamy you could say! When I began making his recipe for Krantz Cakes, I knew I was going to love it, just by the fresh lemony scent from the dough. The dough is a dream to work with, by the way. While his recipe was amazing, I decided to change things up a bit adding a bit of Chez Us. As I mentioned, I loved the texture of the dough but thought it could use more a creamy flavor, so I used whole milk instead of water in the recipe. The change still kept the dough glossy but added a richer flavor. Bright orange zest mixes incredibly well with dark chocolate, tart cherries, and slightly salty pistachios. It was heavenly and is vastly becoming a favorite around here.
Do keep in mind as you begin the journey down the soon-to-be addicting road to Krantz Cakes, is that it takes time. While you can let the dough rest for half a day, I highly suggest that you let it rest overnight as it produced a better crumb and denser flavor. Trust me on this one!
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Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Krantz Cakes
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting counters
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fast-rising active dry yeast
pinch of salt
zest from 1 medium organic orange
3 extra large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
2/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
coconut baking spray for greasing bowl and loaf pans
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup of bittersweet cocoa powder
4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped dried unsweetened cherries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
Place the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low for 2 minutes.
Add the zest from 1 orange as well as eggs and milk. Mix on low for 1 minute, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes or until the dough comes together.
Start adding the butter piece by piece, mixing after each addition, until incorporated into the dough.
Continue mixing for 10 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is smooth, elastic and shiny. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl on and off to prevent sticking and to mix the ingredients well.
Using some melted coconut oil lightly grease a large glass bowl. Place the dough into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
Before baking lightly knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Divide the dough in half and keep on half in the greased bowl in the refrigerator.
Sift the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder together into a small bowl.
Add the melted chocolate and butter, stir well. Then stir in the cherries and pistachios.
Putting the bread together
Grease two loaf pans (9 by 4 inches) with some coconut oil spray.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15 by 11-inch rectangle. Trim the sides to make even.
Using a spatula spread half of the filling mixture over the rectangle leaving 3/4″ border all around.
Brush a little water along the long end farthest away from you.
Using both hands roll up the rectangle, starting from the long side this is closest to you and ending at the other long end.
Press to seal along the damp side of the rectangle.
Place the log on its seam.
Trim about 1/2″ from both ends with a bread knife.
Using the same knife, gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the bottom. You are dividing the log into tow long and even halves.
With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, then lift the right over the left, and repeat – kind of like braiding.
Gently squeeze together the ends of each log.
Carefully lift the bake into a loaf pan. Repeat the process with the remaining dough half.
Place both filled loaf pans onto a baking sheet, and gently cover each with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with coconut oil.
Place in a warm area for 1 1/2 – 2 hours; just until the cakes have risen by 20 percent.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Gently remove the plastic wrap.
Keeping the cakes on the baking sheet, place into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
While the cakes are in the oven, make the syrup by combining the sugar, water and orange zest. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.
As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and let cool down.
After removing the cakes from the oven, brush all of the syrup over them. Use it all up.
Leaves the cakes in the pans until they are just warm, then gently remove and let cool completely before slicing.