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Chocolate Krantz Cake

Written by: Georgina Ingham | Posted 12 August 2015 20:47

Chocolate Krantz Cake
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I received a copy of the new Ottolenghi book, Jerusalem, soon after publication, and within a couple of hours I was hooked. I knew this was a book that needed to live in my kitchen for easy, frequent access, as opposed to the rest of my ever expanding collection which reside in bookcases upstairs.

 

Jerusalem

 

Jerusalem is jam packed with gorgeous recipes, stunning photography and lovely notes on the history and culture of Israel through a culinary context. It is indeed a beautiful book; the cover is printed fabric - it's a lovely touch, though do I worry I'll get dirty in the kitchen.

 

I've cooked several recipes from Jerusalem but one that has become a firm favourite amongst my sweet toothed family and friends is the Chocolate Krantz Cake. I will warn you, it is one of the longest recipes in the book, but it is not difficult and does not require a great deal of technical skill. It is time consuming and a bit of 'a faff' but great fun all the same. And, the end results make it all worthwhile anyhow, plus the feeling of accomplishment is hard to beat. In fact, it’s impossible to remain modest; ah go on gloat a little.

 

Krantz from Jerusalem

 

I have a bit of a 'thing' about baking with yeast. It's a kind of culinary magic which I can't help but be taken in by each time I see it, even though I am now much more understanding of the science behind this so called 'magic trick'. Sweet yeasted baking takes this to the next level. Sweet, pillow-y soft chewy dough, what is there not to love? Not unusually the Krantz dough is made with plain flour, in a similar way to brioche. This is a common theme in sweet baking as it keeps the dough slightly softer and more tender, due to the lower gluten content.

 

Chocolate Krantz in Loaf Tin from Israel

 

What is surprising is that the dough barely rises when proving and doesn't greatly expand when you bake it. After baking the loaf is drenched with what seems like a vat of sugar syrup, filling most of the crumb. It's dense and sticky, very rich, filled with nuts and bitter-sweet chocolate. It is not a sweet bread, yet it is not cake. Krantz is in a category of it's own and that my friends can only be considered a wonderful thing indeed. As always, I just had to experiment. I made only half the chocolate filling and used that to fill one 'loaf' as directed. With the other half of the dough I filled it with some organic almond butter and some slivered almonds. This resulted in a slightly more 'savoury' feeling dough - perfect, we found for breakfasts or a mid morning pick me up.

 

Chocolate Krantz & Almond Butter Krantz

 

Go on, get thee to the kitchen and get your bake on!


Chocolate Krantz Cake

Adapted from Jerusalem (Yotam Ottolengi & Sam Tamini)
 
NOTES: You can replace the chocolate filling with anything of your choosing -almond butter, peanut butter, Nutella, jam etc, although it will no longer be a traditional bake.
 
Ingredients
For The Dough
530g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g caster sugar
2 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
1 small lemon, grated zest only
3 large eggs
120ml water
1/3 teaspoon salt
150g butter at room temperature, cut into 2cm cubes
Sunflower oil
For the chocolate filling
50g icing sugar
30g cocoa powder
130g dark chocolate
120g unsalted butter, melted
100g pecans, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons caster sugar
For the syrup
260g caster sugar
160ml water
 
Instructions
For the dough:
1. Put the dough hook attachment onto your mixer.
2. In the mixer bowl add the flour, sugar, yeast and zest and mix with the dough hook for a minute.
3. Add the eggs and water and work for around 3 minutes until the dough comes together.
4. Add the salt and start adding the butter, a cube at a time, letting it all melt into the dough.
5. Mix for 10 minutes scraping the sides, flouring it lightly as necessary, after which the dough will take on a sheen, be elastic and totally smooth but very sticky.
6. Brush the oil into a large bowl, scrape the dough into it, cover with cling film and preferably, leave it to rise and firm up in the fridge overnight or for at least half a day.
7. Grease two 1 kilo loaf tins well and line the bottom with baking paper.
8. Divide your dough into two, leaving one covered and return to the fridge (The dough will have risen a bit and feel quite firm).
For the filling:
1. Mix all the filling ingredients except the nuts and the 2 tbsp of sugar.
2. Beat until you get a smooth, spreadable paste.
To assemble the Krantz:
1. Flour your work surface, lightly.
2. Shape your dough roughly into a rectangle and then roll out into 38cm x 28cm rectangle.
3. Trim the sides with a sharp knife to keep the dough even and place one of the short sides closest to you.
4. Spread half the filling over the rolled dough, with a palette knife, leaving a 2 cm border all around it.
5. Sprinkle half the pecans on top and one tablespoon caster sugar.
6. Brush a little water over the long end furthest away from you
7. Using both hands,roll up the rectangle like a roulade
8. Press the wet ends to seal it and even the roll into a perfect, thick cigar sitting on it's seam.
9. With a serrated knife, trim off just under 2cm of both ends.
10. Gently cut the roll into two lengthways starting at the top right through to the seam.
11. With the cut side with the layers up facing you, gently press one end of each half together, then lift the right half over the left half.
12. Repeat with the left half over the right half and press the ends together to seal it.
13. Carefully lift the intertwined loaf and place into the tin.
14. Cover the loaf with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. It will only rise about 20 per cent.
15. Repeat the same process for your second loaf.
16. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
17. Remove the tea towels and place the cakes on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer insert the middle comes out clean.
For the syrup
1. Make the syrup while the cakes are in the oven.
2. Place both ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat to dissolve.
3. As soon as the sugar dissolves and the syrup starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.
4. As soon as the cakes are out fo the oven brush liberally with the syrup.
5. It will seem excessive but use up all the syrup on both loaves.
 
 

Almon Butter Krantz in Loaf Tin from Israel
 
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