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Cinnamon, Pecans and Apple Challah Crown

This cinnamon, pecan and apple challah is simply one of the best. It’s so rich in texture, sweet, decadent and absolutely delicious. The perfect treat for upcoming Rosh Hashana!

Cinnamon, Pecans and Apple Challah Crown

Photo: Natalie Levin



Cinnamon, Pecans and Apple Challah Crown

22 cm round cake pan

For the dough:
270 grams (2 cups minus 1 tbsp.) all-purpose flour
5 grams (1 tsp.) active dry yeast
35 ml. (2 tbsp. + 1 tsp.) milk
40 grams (4 tbsp.) sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
40 grams (2 tbsp.) honey
2 large eggs
75 grams butter, cut into cubes

For caramelized apples:
2 large Granny Smith apples
40 grams (4 tbsp.) sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For pecan and cinnamon filling:
75 grams pecans
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour or cornstarch
60 grams cold butter, cut into cubes
60 grams light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. milk
50 grams coarsely chopped pecans

For brushing:
1 beaten egg

For glazing and decoration:
30-40 grams honey, lightly heated
Slices roasted almonds

Cinnamon, Pecans and Apple Challah Crown

Photo: Natalie Levin

Preparation:

  1. Dough: place flour, yeast, milk, sugar, salt, honey and eggs in a mixer bowl with a kneading hook and knead for 4-5 minutes until dough is formed.
  2. Add in the butter gradually and continue kneading for another 4-5 minutes until it is absorbed into a uniform dough.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and cool overnight in the refrigerator. The dough is not supposed to double its volume, but slightly rise and that’s fine.
  4. Caramelized apples: peel the apples and cut into medium cubes.
  5. Heat a skillet over a high flame and cook the apples for a few minutes until they begin to soften slightly.
  6. Add sugar, lemon and vanilla, and cook until the sugar melts and the apples soften.
  7. Cool completely at room temperature.
  8. Peanut and cinnamon filling: in a food processor with a steel blade, put pecans, cinnamon and flour and blend until a thin powder is obtained.
  9. Add butter, sugar and salt and mix until crumbly.
  10. Add yolk and milk and blend until you get a uniform, thick cream.
  11. Assemble the cake: on a floured work surface roll the dough into a 3-4 mm thick rectangle.
  12. Spread a uniform layer of pecan and cinnamon cream over the dough and sprinkle with chopped pecans and caramelized apple cubes.
  13. Roll to a tight roll and cut it lengthwise to 2 long strips.
  14. Braid the 2 strips of dough in a screw shape and finally roll them around it to form a challah.
  15. Place the challah in a lightly greased pan, cover and allow rising for 1-2 hours or until it has risen and almost double in volume.
  16. Preheat the oven to 170c degrees.
  17. Gently brush the cake with beaten egg and bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden and set.
  18. Cool slightly at room temperature.
  19. Heat the honey and generously brush the top.
  20. Sprinkle with some sliced roasted almond and serve.

Notes:

  • The challah is at its best on the day of baking, but it can be frozen well wrapped for up to a week.
  • Instead of honey you can use Maple or date syrup in the same quantities.
  • Instead of pecans, you can use any other nut you like.
Cinnamon, Pecans and Apple Challah Crown

Photo: Natalie Levin

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