We continue our journey through abbecedario culinario della comunita, the European Community Culinary ABC, with the country of Romania and the letter "D" for Drob, a traditional Romanian dish similar to the Scottish speciality, haggis. La Cucina di Cristina entertains us with lovely photos of Romania and some facts about the country itself, plus her version of Drob. I hope to put Romania on my list of must see countries.
The Romanians have a rich culinary history predominately the Ottoman Empire which ruled the country for 276 years. The Turkish cuisine greatly influenced the Romanian cuisine adding spicy meat dishes, vegetable appetizers of eggplant, peppers along with other vegetables and sweets containing nuts, and honey in cakes and pastries. Since Easter is upon us, I decided on Cozonac, a rich yeast bread swirled with a ground nut mixture. I found dozens of variations on Cozonac, some had nut fillings, some had ricotta cheese filling, some had raisins in the bread dough, some were braided-the variations seemed endless. Finally, I chose a moderately simple recipe.To complete the Breads
Makes 3 Loaves (9x5x3)
Makes 3 Loaves (9x5x3)
Rich Yeast Dough
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons warm milk (105°-115°F)
- 1 cup sugar
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 2 cups warm milk (105°-115°F)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup or 8 ounces), melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 egg yolks, whisked until combined
- 7-7 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 4 tablespoons milk. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until creamy.
- In a large bowl or measuring cup, mix together the sugar and the lemon zest with your fingers until fragrant.
- Stir in the warm milk, unsalted butter, and vanilla extract and egg yolks.
- Place half the flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, add half the liquid mixture. Mix on low speed until mixed well. Add more liquid and flour in increments until well mixed. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky, so don't add more flour unless necessary.
- Grease a large bowl. Turn dough into bowl, then flip over greased side up. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled-1-2 hours.
- Meanwhile, make the nut filling.
- 1 pound pecans, or nut of choice (walnuts, hazelnuts, etc
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3 eggs, whisked together
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In the bowl of a food processor, grind together nuts, sugar and butter until finely ground, about 30 seconds or less, in short pulses. Remove to a large bowl.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mix well. Store covered in the refrigerator until dough rises. If making ahead more than 3-4 hours, bring nuts to room temperature.
- Butter or oil your loaf pans. After the dough has risen, remove to a lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 equal pieces. Using one ball of dough, roll out in a large rectangle the width of your baking pan. Spread with 1/3 of the nut mixture. Beginning with the short side of the rectangle, roll dough over filling jelly roll style. Pinch ends and seams. Place in baking pan.
- Repeat procedure for the remaining two balls of dough. Cover pans lightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a moderately warm place until doubled in size. Mine rose just to the edge of the pan. Brush tops with an egg wash (1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water, mixed together) and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 35-45 minutes and golden brown. Bread is done when tapped lightly sounds hollow, or until a thermometer inserted in the middle of the bread reads about 200°F. Remove from oven. Let cool 5 minutes, then turn out on to a rack to cool to room temperature.