This exquisite, mildly sweet pastry, goes very well with tea, coffee or any hot drink . Always a favorite and commonly served at Naw-Ruz, along with many other scrumptious Persian sweets, this gem of a delectable pastry, nazouk/gata was introduced to Persians/Iranians by Armenian settlers of over 500 years in Iran. In California, USA, the high-quality Armenian (and also, Persian/Iranian) confectioneries are available through a number of elite Armenian bakeries in Glendale, a city also know as Armanestan, because of its high concentration of Armenian residents.
Nazouk (Gata), Armenian Pastry
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
This is an original/basic nazouk recipe. Many innovative fillings may be used.
• 227 g/8 oz/1 cup thick yogurt
• 7 g/2½ tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
• 226 g/8 oz/1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 egg yolk (for golden-hue)
• 384 g/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
• 1 Tbsp sugar
• 170 g/6 oz/ 3/4 cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
• 300g / 1½ cups sugar
• 192 g/ 1½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Options for filling: May also add ground cardamom or cinnamon to taste and/or 2~3 Tbs finely-ground nuts, i.e. walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds.
• 2 egg yolks, beaten well, with • 1 tsp of yogurt
◊ In a large bowl, combine the yeast with yogurt and set aside for 5 minutes.
◊ Add the soft butter, an egg yolk, sifted flour and start kneading for 10 ~ 15 minutes, until smooth, firm, and does not stick to your hands. (After kneading for 15 minutes, if the dough still sticks to your hand, add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil and knead a little more.) Shape the dough into four balls, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
◊ Mix well together, the soft butter, sugar, vanilla, sifted flour and mix well until crumbled in small segments.
Assembly and baking
◊ Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 175°C/350°F
◊ Lightly flour the counter top and surface of the rolling pin. Place and roll out one of the dough balls into a long rectangle/oval shape, approximately 46 cm x 30cm / 18″x12″ , as thin as possible.
◊ Spread ¼ of the filling evenly onto the sheet.
◊ Starting from the longer side, folding 13mm/ ½”, finely/tightly roll the sheet into a log. Tap with finger to shape the log into a long, rectangular bar.
◊ Brush each bar with the egg-yogurt wash.
◊ Using crinkle cutter (also called garnish cutter), cut diagonally into 4cm/1½” equal slices. (It may also be cut into different shapes, i.e. square, triangle, narrower triangle like Christmas tree, etc.)
◊ Place pastries on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper (or non-stick baking mat), 4cm/1½” apart.
◊ Bake for about ~30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown (start watching after 25 minutes, to make sure the glaze doesn’t become too brown). Remove from oven and allow to cool on a baking-rack.
~ Բարի’ ախորժակ • (Bari akh.orzh.ak) / Noushe jan! • نوش جان ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?