Sunday, October 14, 2007

Recipe- Apple Pumpkin Challah

Today is a bread-baking day.

Enough time had passed since my last date with the bread machine, and I was dying to use up the last of the can of pumpkin I opened a week ago. I hate the thought of throwing away something like that because I didn't come up with another way to use it. I made pumpkin muffins a week ago for New Husband, so I popped the leftover pumpkin puree in the freezer and decided on some pumpkin challah.

I wanted to do something a little more special. One of the best bread-machine creations I've ever had is an apple challah recipe. Mom and I made it together a few years ago, back when the machine and the oven were still a total mystery. At the time it was fun, but seemed too difficult to possibly attempt on my own. Lots of time has passed since then. :-) My brilliant idea was to combine the two recipes- the pumpkin challah dough with the apple cinnamon filling.

The pumpkin challah recipe makes 2 braided loafs. I altered the original a bit by substituting whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all-purpose. I feel I can definitely call this my original recipe with the alterations I've made.
The moist dough emerges from the machine a gorgeous, well... pumpkin color! It feels wonderful in your hands, springy and plump- much less sticky than a pizza dough.

Apple-Pumpkin Challah

1/2 cup water
3/4 cup canned Pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons walnut oil
3 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup Whole Wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons gluten
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

3 medium tart Apples- peeled, cored, and diced
juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter

cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

Place all the dough ingredients in the pan according to the machine's directions. Program for the Dough cycle and press Start.

Prepare the filling: Combine apples, lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon in a bowl and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, chill, and drain before use in filling the dough.

When the dough cycle ends, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half, and then each half into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into an approximate 12x3 inch rectangle. Brush with a little melted butter and place 1/6 of the filling down the center of each portion. Starting from the long edge, roll each rectangle and pinch the seams to seal well.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 3 ropes parallel to each other and braid the ropes, alternating the outside ropes over the center (not much, but you get the idea). Turn the challah so it covers only half the sheet. Brush with a tiny bit more melted butter and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with the remaining 3 ropes, turn to fit the sheet, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Cover both loaves with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to an hour. *Do not let is rise any longer, or the challah may collapse in the oven.

15 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown. Cool on a rack before slicing.

This recipe created one of the better smells that have emanated from my kitchen, and I can hardly describe to you the joy and victory I felt when I pulled my perfectly formed creations from the oven.
One loaf is coming to my office tomorrow morning to be shared, and the other has gone straight into the freezer to stay first-day fresh for my in-laws when we visit them next week. Fingers crossed they like it too!

No comments: