Easy Russian Coffeecake

FROM RUSSiA WITH BUD

OUR GANJA GOURMAND CONSIDERS HER DESERT-ISLAND DISH. BY ASHLEY BOUDREAUX


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If i were stranded for an ungodly amount of time on some savage island, I could survive solely on Russian coffeecake. I proved this while I was in New York recently for 10 days. Though it's neither standard Russian fare nor traditional coffeecake, this cousin to the babka is perfect zombie-apoca­lypse survival food. But don't bother looking for it in your local grocery stores, because they proba­bly won't have it. Even in Manhattan, it can be a challenge to procure—my generally unflappable sister wasted an entire afternoon there prowling for said pastry while cursing my name, even though she's a master of the Zipcar/iPhone method of urban-jungle navigation.

Furthermore, finding proper recipe guidance online is next to impossible, so we're going have to butcher this recipe at home. This kosher treat starts with yeast-laden, brioche-style dough, so to do it the old-fashioned way, we're looking at sponges and cultures and warm water and mul­tiple risings and the punching of gooey dough in dark places and something involving a rabbi. It could be tricky for the average shiksa.

Do feel free to make it as complicated as you'd like if you're a Jewish pastry chef from Eastern Europe, an old-fashioned babushka or simply a better person than I am. If you're mak­ing the dough from scratch, you can use a stan­dard brioche recipe and load it up with cold ganja butter. (Just be careful not to exceed a gram of weed per serving or you might end up drooling on yourself and wondering if you've had a stroke because your face has gone numb and your hair feels Like tentacles .... Thanks, nice med-pot lady up in Maine—that was really strong candy.) Or you can simply follow the ris­ing instructions on a package of pre-made frozen bread-loaf dough and relegate the ganja butter to the filling mixture instead.

Most stoners I know don't have the time or inclination to make dough from scratch because baking is a very precise, scientific thing. If you get it wrong, then the halls fill with dark, acrid smoke, someone trips the fire alarm, and all the students go pouring out into the parking lot while your Home Economics teacher pulls an ominous, smoking, obsidian slab of failure out of the oven, a wretched culinary mockery from the depths of Mordor. And it's all your fault.

Sorry ... adolescent flashback.

Anyway, this recipe is dedicated to the New G Nation guys over at the Roots Collective dispen­sary in Woodland Hills, CA—because they've got the good shit, and because they've never given me grief about the bad things I do to pastries. Whassup, mensches?


Let the dough rise according to the instructions and then chill it overnight. Before you roll out the dough, prepare the filling mixture.

For the filling:

10 grams sativa shake or 5 grams bud

6 tbsp unsalted butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup ground pecans

6 oz apricot paste or cake filling

3/4 cup raisins soaked in rum and star anise

(I soaked golden raisins and one pod of star anise in dark,

spiced Bermuda rum for three days).

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Melt the butter over Low heat in a double-boiler. Add the ganja shake. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour (it should smell nutty but not scorched). Let coot slightly and strain, then squeeze out the vege­tative matter. Set the ganja butter aside in the fridge to cool slightly. Then mix in the brown sugar, ground pecans, apricot paste or cake filling, and rum-soaked raisins. Be sure to reserve an additional one-eighth cup of nuts, two tablespoons
of brown sugar and two tablespoons of butter for the topping.

Next, roll out the chilled dough into a thin rec­tangle and spread the filling mixture evenly across it. Roll the dough into a spiral around the mixture (it should look like a giant jellyroll). Twist it slightly and place into a greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. Brush the top with butter. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes.

Stab holes into the dough to help it vent and press down. Bake it at 350°F for 40 minutes; watch it carefully and cover it with foil when it starts to brown. Uncover it, brush the top with butter again, sprinkle the topping over it and continue to bake until it's uniformly golden brown. (Bear in mind that I Live below sea level and have a small crappy oven, so your cooking time may vary slightly.) Keep an eye on it and adjust your cooking time if needed: Finding the correct balance between undercooked and overly dry dough can be a bit daunting, so don't be afraid to tinker. Cool completely before serving.

Stones 10—or a single woman on a savage island for days on end.
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