The Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers and foodies who enjoy preparing recipes from other members blogs. Each member is assigned another member’s blog to prepare and post a dish on the selected reveal day for that particular group. It is a secret, hence the moniker. As always, I have a difficult time choosing a recipe amongst all the tantalizing photos of culinary delights. However, after perusing the yeast breads featured by Karen of Karen Cooks, I knew I had at least narrowed it down. Karen prepares many delicious dishes and like myself, she likes to bake breads. The Tuscan Coffeecake with its Italian name caught my eye immediately, so the choice was made. Originally from King Arthur Flour, the cake is chocked full of dried fruit and toasted walnuts-a hearty slightly sweet bread that incorporates a starter to further enhances the flavor and quality of the baked product. Because the dough is a thick heavy one, I used my bread machine to mix and knead, adding the fruit and nuts later in the cycle. If you don’t have a bread machine, I suggest using a heavy-duty mixer to knead the dough.
A few words about Karen that I learned while reading her blog-she loves photographing her family, calls her husband-the gardener and has recently set up a gardening blog-Karen Cooks and Gardens, a perfect site for one who loves to cook with fresh herbs and vegetables. Not only a bread aficionado, but also prepares many delicious Mexican and Portuguese dishes. I also made her Chile Verde, but it’s in the freezer now awaiting its turn at dinner. The recipe is as it reads on Karen’s blog with the exception of one or two substitutions noted in parentheses. I saw no reason to mess with a good thing-so to speak.
STARTER1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour1/2 cup cool water1/16 teaspoon instant yeast
Mix the starter ingredients in a small (about 1-quart) bowl, and let rest overnight at room temperature.DOUGHall of the starter2/3 cup water2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter1 large egg2 tablespoons sugar2 teaspoons instant yeast1 1/4 teaspoons saltFILLING1 cup toasted walnuts, very coarsely chopped3/4 cup chopped dates-(I used chopped dried prune plums)3/4 cup raisins, golden preferredTOPPING2 tablespoons sugar (I used Turbinado sugar)1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I used powdered vanilla)1 teaspoon water (2 teaspoons of water if using powdered vanilla)
Combine the dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to form a smooth, supple dough. It’ll be very slack; for this reason, I suggest kneading in a bread machine, or with a mixer, rather than by hand. Place the dough in a bowl, and let it rise about 1 hour. It may not double in bulk; that’s OK.Gently deflate the dough, and knead the nuts and fruit into it. Shape the dough into a flat ball, and place it in a 9-inch round cake pan. Cover the pan with a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rise for 30 minutes, or till it barely crests over the top of the pan.Combine the sugar, vanilla and water, and drizzle this mixture over the top of the risen coffeecake. Bake it in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and the internal temperature registers 190°F. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes, carefully turn it out of the pan. Allow it to cool on a rack. Yield: 1 cake, about 8 to 10 servings.
Leftover coffeecake can be sliced, toasted and spread with cream cheese. Part of a Valentine’s tea party, maybe?
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