Friday, 18 January 2013

a different version of ottolenghi's krantz cake

almond orange blossom krantz cake
the trouble with christmas is that it leaves an abundance of sweet things in its wake. there are boxes of chocolates tucked into drawers, biscuits languishing in the biscuit tin and homemade christmas cake. there was also leftover marzipan that needed to be dealt with. a little short of new years eve i had some friends coming over for tea so i decided to turn the left over marzipan into ottolenghi’s krantz cake. the recipe that appears in jerusalem is beautifully illustrated – a plait of dough that reveals an interior of chocolate and pecans. i reworked the recipe by replacing the chocolate and nut mixture with my homemade marzipan and plenty of orange peel. the sugar syrup was replaced with honey and orange blossom to give it a glossy finish. 

i think i was inspired to make the krantz because i felt terrible for not having followed daddy’s (grandfather) tradition of making makoweic. the dough for the krantz is essentially the same as it is an enriched yeasted dough that is the canvas for a variety of fillings from soft cheeses like ricotta to poppy seeds and nuts. over time daddy’s makoweic has come to feature a marzipan like paste made with ground almonds and sultanas as the quality of poppy seeds in pakistan leaves much to be desired for. 

i used poires au chocolat’s adaptation for the dough as i only needed one loaf. the original recipe makes two loafs and is to be found on page two eighty-four of jerusalem

{almond and orange blossom krantz cake} 
inspired and adapted from ottolenghi’s jerusalem and poires au chocolat

for the dough*
two hundred and sixty-five grams plain flour
fifty grams soft brown sugar
one teaspoon fast action dried yeast
zest of an orange
pinch of salt
one large egg
eighty-five ml water
eighty-five grams unsalted butter in chunks, at room temperature but slightly firm

for the filling
two hundred grams of marzipan paste
one hundred grams candied orange peel

for the glaze
the juice of two oranges
sixty ml honey
one teaspoon of orange blossom water

to make the dough, place the flour, sugar, yeast, zest and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. stir the contents with a dough hook in your hand. then add the egg and water and stir again. once the dry ingredients have absorbed most of the liquid start the machine and knead on medium for around two to three minutes until you get a uniform dough.

now start adding chunks of the butter to the dough. do this one at a time allowing each chunk to be worked into the dough before you add the next one. once all the butter is incorporated continue to work the dough for another ten minutes on medium. scrape the dough from the sides several times whilst the mixer is working it. the dough is ready when it is silky smooth and does not tear when pulled apart. place in a greased bowl, cover it with cling film and leave it in the fridge overnight.

the next day grease and line a nine into four-inch tin. let the lining have an over hang as this makes it easier to remove the krantz from the tin. now remove the dough from the fridge, flour your work surface and roll the dough into a thirty-eight by twenty-eight cm rectangle.  then roll the marzipan to a rectangle that is slightly shorter than the dough. you should have two cm of dough space all along the edges. place it on top of the dough and sprinkle the candied orange peel onto it.

wet the short edge away from you and roll the dough tightly like a roulade. seal the roulade by pressing the wet edge down. once you have a cylinder shape trim the edges with a serrated knife. then divide the dough along the mid-line lengthwise and weave it into a plait, cut side up (take a look at this illustration on poires au chocolat as it is helpful) . transfer the krantz to the tin using a smaller tin for the ends. cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm place to rise for an hour.

towards the end of the rising preheat the oven to one hundred and seventy degrees celsius. uncover the dough and tuck into the oven on the centre rack. the krantz will take between twenty-five to thirty minutes to bake (the ends around ten to fifteen minutes). it is ready when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

while it is baking make the syrup as you will need to brush the krantz as soon as it emerges from the oven. combine the orange juice and honey and bring to a boil. let it simmer for around five to seven minutes just enough to thicken it a bit. remove from the heat and add the orange blossom water. 

brush the cake with syrup as soon as it is out of the oven. you may need to brush it twice or thrice allowing the dough to soak up the syrup between turns. let the krantz cool completely before removing it to a plate. serve at room temperature.


  1. I gave my Dad and my brother Jerusalem for Christmas but still don't own a copy of my own! I did manage to copy some of the sweet recipes before I wrapped it up though, including this cake! Love your variation :-)

  2. thanks! i seem to have somewhat of an addiction to orange blossom and almonds as a combination!