Fruit-Filled Coffeecake Ring

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Last time I chatted with longtime Minnesota State Fair “Supreme Ruler of the Kitchen,” Elaine Janas, the topic at hand was Cranberry Streusel Coffeecake. During that summer conversation, Elaine also shared the recipe for her old-fashioned, yeast-raised coffee cake with apricot filling. Fast-forward to today: With brunch guests coming, I decided to try that recipe. All was perking along nicely, dough rising on the counter, etc., until I discovered we were out of apricots. Phooey. But I did have three cups of fresh blueberries hanging around…so…I used Elaine’s recipe for the yeast cake and created my own blueberry filling to go with it. I think Elaine would approve: at 84, she’s still an innovator. Here then is the blueberry version, and, Elaine’s original apricot version.

Makes 1, very large coffeecake ring

Dough Ingredients

  • 2 pkgs dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup (110 to 115 degree) warm water
  • 1/3 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup hot milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp mace
  • 3 more cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Blueberry Filling Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over to remove any stems
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp Sure-Jell
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Apricot Filling Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Glaze Ingredients

  • I cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced blanched almonds for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make dough: Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add salt, hot milk and one cup of flour. Blend. Add dissolved yeast and two eggs. Combine. With wooden spoon, mix in 2 ½ cups flour, grated zest and mace. Knead until smooth, adding remaining ½ cup of flour as needed to make a soft dough, about five to eight minutes. Place in bowl greased with the oil; turn to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled.
  2. Make apricot filling (OR make blueberry filling): Place dried apricots in saucepan and just cover with water. Cook until apricots are soft. Drain water. Finely chop the plumped apricots. Return to empty pan and toss with sugar, cinnamon and grated lemon peel. Cook until mixture thickens. Mix in lemon juice and salt. Set aside.
  3. Make blueberry filling (OR make apricot filling): Heat oven to 350. In an enameled cast iron pot with lid, or other lidded, ovenable glass casserole dish, combine blueberries with sugar and mix. Put lid on and pop pot into the oven for one hour. After an hour, stir in the lemon zest, cinnamon and Sure-Jell. Bake for another 20 minutes. Open pot, stir in lemon juice and allow mixture to cool, uncovered. Blueberries should be slightly thickened.
  4. Roll out dough: On a large piece of baking parchment, roll dough to a long, 7 x 22-inch rectangle. Spread 1 to 1 ½ cups of the apricot (OR blueberry) filling across the dough, leaving at least an inch and ½ of unspread dough around the edge. Roll up the long side like a jelly roll, carefully pulling dough up and over the filling, being careful not to tear. Crimp seam at bottom. Shape this long rope into a ring and pinch two ends together. Carefully transfer parchment paper with cake on top onto a cookie sheet. With sharp kitchen shears, make cuts into the ring: cut straight down to ½ inch from the bottom of the ring. Cover the cake with oiled plastic wrap and let rise 40 to 45 minutes. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. Make glaze: Toward the end of the cake-baking time, whisk together powdered sugar with butter, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over finished cake while it is still slightly warm. Sprinkle with almonds.

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