Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Daring Baker's October's Challenge - Povitica

Sliced up and ready to be eaten

So after last month's accident of not finding time to bake the croissants, I was determined to fulfill this month's challenge. Thankfully, I had more time in the schedule this month and promptly made it on the first week, when one of our lectures got cancelled and I had an afternoon off. Yippee!

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

This bread is really yummy! CK and I loved the filling to bits. Hard to go wrong with that sort of filling actually. Plenty of nuts, butter, milk, eggs, cinnamon. Yum. Double yum.


The bread came out slightly dry though. Wonder if it's due to our poor handling as some people seem to have moist ones. The filling wasn't grounded as fine as well so the pattern was disrupted by the larger walnut chunks.

Thanks Jenni for the excellent challenge and exposure! =D

Quarter Batch Dough Ingredients (Makes one loaf 1.25 lbs/565 grams)

To activate the Yeast:
1⁄2 Teaspoon (21⁄2 ml/21⁄4 gm)
Sugar 1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml/3⁄4 gm)
All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Warm Water
1 1⁄2 Teaspoons (71⁄2 ml/31⁄2 gm/0.125 oz/1⁄2 sachet) Dry Yeast

1⁄2 Cup (120 ml) Whole Milk
3 Tablespoons (45 ml/43 gm/11⁄2 oz)
3⁄4 Teaspoon (33⁄4 ml/9 gm/0.17 oz) Table Salt
1 Large Egg
1 tablespoon (30 ml/30 gm/1⁄4 stick/1 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz/0.62 lb)
All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
1 1⁄2 Teaspoons (71⁄2 ml/7 gm/1⁄4 oz) Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter

Quarter Batch Filling Ingredients (enough filling for one loaf)
13⁄4 Cups (420 ml/280 gm/10 oz) Ground English Walnuts
1⁄4 Cup (60 ml) Whole Milk
1⁄4 Cup (60 ml/58 gm/1⁄2 stick/2 oz) Unsalted Butter
1 Egg Yolk From A Large Egg, Beaten
1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
1⁄2 Cup (120 ml/115 gm/4 oz) Sugar
1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml/1 gm)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml/3⁄4 gm) Cinnamon


To Activate Yeast:
1. In a small bowl, stir sugar, flour, and the yeast into cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.

2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes

To Make the Dough:

3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.

4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, sugar, and the salt until combined.

5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 1 cup of flour.

6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.

7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick.

8. Place dough in lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.

To Make the Filling
9. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.

10. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.

11. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.

12. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

13. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.

14. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.

To Roll and Assemble the Dough:
15. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.

16. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)

17. Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle
and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (251⁄2 cm by 301⁄2 cm) in diameter.

18. Spoon some of the melted butter on top.

19. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and
uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer.

20. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it
out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking.

21. When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin
that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath.

22. Spoon filling (see below for recipe) evenly over dough until covered.

23. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.

24. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced.

25. Brush the top with a mixture of 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of cold STRONG coffee and 2
tablespoons (30ml/28 gm/1 oz) of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.

26. Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow
to rest for approximately 15 minutes.

27. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas
mark 4.

28. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place
into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.

29. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.

30. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.

31. Check the bread every 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaf with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to.

32. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes.

33. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife.


Friday, October 14, 2011

October Daring Cook's Challenge - Moo Shu Pork

The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

To be frank, I've only ever heard of Moo Shu on TV and have never seen it in Chinese restaurants. And coming from Asia as well, I am really intrigued at the description about Moo Shu because seriously, I've never freakin heard of ittt.

My housemate and I followed pretty much true to the stir fry recipe, hoisin sauce and thin pancakes. All in all, pretty yummy when put together!

Moo Shu Pork:
Serves 4
Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes


2/3 cup (1 oz) (30 gm) Dried black fungus ('wood ears')
1⁄2 lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt
3⁄4 cup (31⁄2 oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut
3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
3 large eggs

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
2 scallions
1 tablespoon (15 ml)
light soy sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice wine
A few drops sesame oil


1. Soak the fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.

2. Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds.

3. Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.

4. Heat about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too
hard. Remove and keep to one side.

5. Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the shredded pork for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add
the fungus, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage and scallions. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining salt, soy sauce and wine. Blend well and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the scrambled eggs, stirring to break them into small bits. Add the sesame oil and blend well.

Hoisin sauce

4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses
2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon (2⁄3 ml) garlic powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame seed oil
20 drops (1⁄4 teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin sauce)
1/8 teaspoon (2⁄3 ml) black pepper

Simply mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a sturdy spoon. At first it does not appear like it will mix, but keep at it just a bit longer and your sauce will come together.


4 cups (960 ml) (560 gm) (193⁄4 oz) all-purpose flour
About 11⁄2 cup (300ml) (10 fl oz) boiling water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
Dry flour for dusting

1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for about 30 minutes.

2. Lightly dust the surface of a worktop with dry flour. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out.

3. Roll each piece into a ball, then, using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.

4. Place an un-greased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes, one at a time, in the pan. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.

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