the appetizer:

Coffee Cakes, Simple, Sweet, and Savory, by Lou Seibert Pappas, features recipes like Sun-Dried Tomato-Pistachio Polenta Cake, Chocolate Streusel-Ribboned Bundt Cake, and Greek Almond-Crusted Citrus Loaves.

I Love Desserts


Greek Almond-Crusted Citrus Loaves

Makes two 9-inch loaves; Serves 16

In Greece, this toasted almond and sugar-capped yeast bread rings in the New Year. Imbued with citrus zest, it has a lovely feathery texture and hint of sweetness.

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees F)
  • Pinch of granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup
  • 1 cup warm milk (105 degrees to 115 degrees F)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • About 3 tablespoons slivered or sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara or turbinado sugar

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, add the pinch of sugar, and stir until dissolved. Let stand until foamy, 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the milk, butter, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and salt. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, orange and lemon zests, and 1 cup of the flour. Using a wooden spoon or a heavy-duty electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add the yeast mixture and 1 more cup of the flour and beat until smooth. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining 2 to 2-1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should be soft. Place in a buttered bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Lightly butter two 9-inch pie pans or 2 baking sheets. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead lightly until smooth, 1 or 2 minutes. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 round, flat loaves about 7 inches in diameter and place in the prepared pans. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the topping, brush the loaves with the egg white and sprinkle with the almonds and sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown. Let cool, then transfer from the pans to wire racks. Serve warm, cut into wedges.


Coffee Cakes
Simple, Sweet, and Savory

by Lou Seibert Pappas
Chronicle Books
Paperback; $18.95
132 pp; 25 color photographs;
ISBN: 0811855074
Information provided by the publisher.

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This page created May 2007

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