As an Israeli chef, I have always been fascinated by the rich culinary traditions of the Middle East. One such tradition that stands out is the art of making Armenian pastries. Today, I want to share with you a recipe for one of my favorite pastries – Nazook.
Nazook is a delicious, buttery sweet pastry that originates from Armenia. It is unique in its texture and flavor, and once you try it, you’ll be hooked. Nazook has become incredibly popular not only in Armenia but also in many other parts of the world.
What makes Nazook special is the combination of simple ingredients that are magically transformed into a delicious pastry. The dough is made from flour, unsalted butter, and sour cream which gives it a flaky yet tender consistency. The filling consists of sugar, walnuts, cardamom, and cinnamon which adds an indulgent sweetness and warm spices to the pastry.
In this article, I will guide you through the steps on how to make Nazook at home. With a little practice, you will have mastered this delightful pastry that will impress even the most discerning foodies. So let’s get started and enjoy the taste of traditional Armenian desserts!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Welcome, food lovers! Today I want to introduce you to a pastry that will completely change the way you see baked goods. It’s sweet, it’s flaky and it’s packed with flavor. This pastry is none other than the traditional Armenian Nazook.
What makes this pastry exceptional is that it’s not just any sweet pastry – it’s a buttery sweet one that melts in your mouth. I mean, who doesn’t love butter and sugar together? With just one bite, your taste buds will be dancing with joy!
This pastry recipe is incredibly versatile and can be eaten for breakfast or as a dessert after a sumptuous meal. The aroma of cardamom and vanilla will enchant your senses while the crunch of walnuts adds another layer of texture to this delicious treat.
But what truly sets Nazook apart from other pastries is its flakiness. It shares many similarities with croissants and rugelach when it comes to texture, but Nazook has its own unique quality. The layers of pastry are rolled and sealed multiple times to create an impressive flaky crust, making each bite so satisfying.
Moreover, this recipe has been passed down for generations in Armenian families and is a traditional Armenian pastry that dates back centuries. So you’ll be creating not just a delicious treat but also experiencing a slice of history with each bite.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a sweet pastry treat that’s unique, flavorful, and versatile, look no further than Nazook – the ultimate buttery sweet indulgence!
Before starting baking Nazook, it is essential to gather all the ingredients needed. Here are the required ingredients:
- All-Purpose Flour: 2 1/4 cups of sifted all-purpose flour.
- Unsalted Butter: 1 cup softened unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons for brushing the pastry.
- Sour Cream: 1/2 cup sour cream.
- Active Dry Yeast: 1 pack or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast.
- Granulated Sugar: 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
- Egg: One large egg at room temperature.
- Lemon Juice: 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Salt: 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Walnuts: Crushed walnuts to garnish (optional).
- Cardamom/Vanilla Sugar: A mix of cardamom/vanilla and granulated sugar to sprinkle over the pastry.
All these ingredients are readily available in every grocery store, but if you cannot find any specific ingredient or looking for a substitute, read on as I have got you covered.
The Recipe How-To
Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients for the Nazook (Armenian Pastry) recipe, it’s time to start baking. The recipe is a bit labor-intensive, but trust me, it’s worth every minute of your time! Let’s get started with the how-to of making this delicious pastry.
Step 1: Make the dough
To make the dough, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter, 1/2 cup of sour cream, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until creamy. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and gently mix until just combined.
Tip: Be cautious not to overwork the dough as it can cause it to become tough.
Step 2: Prepare the filling
For the Nazook filling, you need to blend together half a cup of softened butter with half a cup of sugar until creamy. Then stir in one cup of ground walnuts, one teaspoon of vanilla extract or cardamom; both options are great toppings for this magnificent pastry.
Step 3: Roll out the dough
Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring around 16×12 inches.
Tip: Chilling the dough before rolling helps to maintain its shape while baking.
Spread half of the filling evenly over two-thirds of the dough’s length. Fold the uncovered third over the center section and then fold again to form three layers like puff pastry. Roll lightly so that they stick together.
Repeat the process with another layer so that you have six layers in total.
Step 4: Bake
Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees F for about twenty-five minutes or till golden brown on top!
Congratulations! You’ve successfully made Nazook – an authentic Armenian treat loved by many generations!
Substitutions and Variations
When it comes to baking, it’s always good to have a little room for creativity. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try with the Nazook recipe that will allow you to add your personal touch:
– Yogurt: Instead of using plain yogurt, you can use Greek yogurt or even sour cream if that’s what you have on hand. These substitutes will give the pastry a slightly tangier flavor, which complements the sweetness of the buttery dough.
– Spices: You can experiment with different spices besides cardamom or nutmeg. Cinnamon pairs well with walnuts and sugar, so you can sprinkle a bit on top of your Nazook before baking. Alternatively, you can use vanilla extract or lemon zest for a fresh twist.
– Nuts: If you’re not a fan of walnuts, try substituting them with pecans, almonds, or pistachios. These nuts will add their unique flavor and texture to the pastry.
– Butter: The traditional Nazook recipe calls for unsalted butter, but you can use salted butter for more depth of flavor. For a healthier option, you can use plant-based butter or margarine instead.
– Gluten-free: To make this pastry gluten-free, substitute wheat flour with gluten-free flour alternatives like rice flour, almond flour, or coconut flour. Keep in mind that your pastry might turn out slightly different in texture and taste after using these substitutions.
– Sweetness level: Adjust the amount of sugar used based on your preference level. Reduce sugar by 1/4 cup from the original recipe if you prefer less sweetness.
The beauty of Nazook lies in its versatility; once you have mastered the basic recipe, feel free to experiment with various substitutes until you find your perfect combination. So go ahead and get an extra pinch of what suits your taste buds!
Serving and Pairing
Serving and pairing are equally important for any dish. When it comes to the Nazook, I think this buttery sweet pastry is best served warm or at room temperature.
Nazook is a great accompaniment to Armenian coffee or tea. But if you’re feeling adventurous, pair it with other beverages like Earl Grey tea or a cup of coffee with milk. This pastry also goes well with a glass of cold milk, which balances perfectly with the sweetness of the pastry.
For those who want to indulge more in its sweetness, serve the Nazook with a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with walnuts as a garnish. Alternatively, you may also add cinnamon and raisin as an extra topping. The combination of the spiciness from the cinnamon and the sweetness from raisins works well with Nazook’s buttery texture.
If you’re in the mood for something savoury, pair the Nazook with hummus or baba ghanoush dips. The Greek tzatziki dip would also make an excellent pairing if you want some tangy flavour.
Serve it as dessert or snack or just accompany your morning coffee or afternoon tea time. This delicious pastry will surely make any food pairing more exciting!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
One of the best things about this Nazook Armenian pastry recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and stored for later. If you are planning to make them in advance, you can prepare and assemble the pastry dough. Once the pastry dough is ready, you can cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
When you’re ready to bake your Nazook pastries, simply remove the dough from the fridge, roll out as usual, arrange on a baking sheet and bake according to the recipe instructions. You’ll get freshly baked, buttery sweet treats without any hassle!
If you have leftovers, which is highly unlikely given how delicious these pastries are, you can store them for another day by wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap or storing them in an airtight container at room temperature. They can last up to 3 days without losing their texture or flavor.
To reheat the Nazook pastries, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the pastry on a baking sheet and warm it up for about 5 minutes or until hot. Avoid using a microwave as it will not retain their proper texture and is not advisable.
Remember that these Nazook treats are best served fresh and warm with a cup of Armenian coffee or tea.
Tips for Perfect Results
To achieve the perfect Nazook, there are some tips that I would like to share with you. These are the techniques that I have learned from my grandmother and I still follow them until this day.
Firstly, make sure to use unsalted butter in the dough and filling. This helps control the saltiness of your pastry. If you prefer a slightly salty taste, simply add a pinch of salt to your dough mixture.
Next, keep all your ingredients at room temperature. Cold ingredients will make it harder to combine and may even cause the dough to break or crack while kneading.
For an aromatic twist, try adding a pinch of cardamom or vanilla extract to the filling mixture. These flavors complement the nutty texture of walnuts and sweetness of sugar very well.
When rolling out your pastry, use a thin layer of flour on your work surface and rolling pin to prevent sticking. Also, only roll out small portions at a time to prevent the dough from getting too thin and tearing easily.
After making the pastry, let it rest for at least half an hour before baking it. This allows the dough to relax and lets its flavors blend together well.
To make a flaky crust, brush beaten egg mixture over the top of your pastry before baking. This gives it a golden brown color and enhances its crispiness.
Lastly, do not skimp on butter while making this traditional recipe as it is what makes it buttery sweet and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Use softened butter in your mixture for easier blending.
By following these tips, you can successfully create a buttery sweet Nazook with a flaky crust and nutty filling that will surely delight your taste buds.
In conclusion, Nazook Armenian pastry is a unique and delicious treat that should definitely make it to your baking list. With its flaky texture and buttery taste, it’s an excellent addition to any meal or even great on its own. It’s perfect for special occasions or to simply indulge in something sweet.
With this Nazook Armenian pastry recipe, I hope that I have given you everything you need to make a successful batch of these delightful pastries. From the list of ingredients to step-by-step instructions, as well as tips and variations, nothing has been left out.
Give this traditional Armenian dessert recipe a try, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Your taste buds will be overwhelmed with the sweetness of sugar and the unique flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. And don’t forget to pair it with a cup of aromatic Armenian coffee or a glass of milk!
So whether you’re new to Armenian baking or an experienced baker looking for something different, give this Nazook pastry recipe a spot in your kitchen. The irresistible aroma of freshly baked Nazook is what dreams are made of!
Nazook (Armenian Pastry) Recipe
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
- 1 cup sour cream, room temp
- 3 1/4 cups sifted flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chilled butter, unsalted
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1 teaspoon yogurt
- 3 tablespoons melted butter (for brushing the dough with)
- 1 cup melted butter
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- Dough: Add yeast to the sour cream and mix inches Set aside for 10 minutes. Combine flour, salt and butter and mix with your hands until crumbly. Add egg, vegetable oil, lemon juice and sour cream and mix well. Knead the dough, over a floured surface, for 5 minutes, or until no longer sticky. Add more flour if necessary. Form into a ball, mark with an “+”, symbolizing a cross. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 5 hours, or overnight.
- Filling: Mix melted butter and flour until combined. Add sugar, walnuts, vanilla and cardamom. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Assembly: Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator; divide into 8 equal portions. Roll each dough ball into a 10 x 6” rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Spread 1/8th of the filling over each rectangle, leaving 1/2” border. Cover with a piece of parchment paper. Roll over it lightly with a rolling pin, so that the filling adheres to the dough. Fold the edges in 1/2” over the filling. Roll into a cylinder. Gently flatten with the palms of your hands.
- Cut each roll into 6 pieces and arrange on 2 greased cookie sheets. Brush liberally with the egg glaze. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy with a hot cup of tea!
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