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Apple-custard monkey bread (林檎とカスタードのモンキーブレッド)

My favorite Louisiana grocery store, Rouses, sells monkey bread. I thought about baking one the other day, and found a suitable recipe at the Salad-in-a-Jar blog.

The bread came out beautifully, with a great texture and buttery, slightly sweet flavor. Kudos to the recipe and its creator.

The best thing about it for me, though, turned out to be the fact that it allowed me to bake presentable “dinner rolls” without requiring me to have the skills and patience to shape the dough into presentable rolls. I am not a fan of splitting dough into “equal parts” of 12, or shaping them into pretty-looking oval shapes while getting floured all over myself.

This inspired me to try this again but this time with some sweet filling for breakfast. What I am shooting for here is those awesome Japanese snack rolls I grew up with, that are filled with sweet bean paste, egg custard, chocolate filling, or jelly, but without all the hustle of the “splitting into 12 equal parts and shaping into attractive oval shapes with the filling perfectly in the center” part.

The bread turned out quite well, and half of it was gone before the day’s end. At least some of it made it to the breakfast. Next time, however, I will try some red bean paste, and will drizzle with icing for additional sweetness.

Here is what I did:

1. Throw in the following into a bread maker pan, and run them through the “dough cycle” (this part courtesy of http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/family-recipes/bread-machine-monkey-bread-inspired-by-helen-corbitt).

  • 1 c. warm milk
  • 1 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour + 1-2 tablespoons if needed
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast
2. While the dough is being made, combine the following and cook until apples are soft and liquid is nearly all adsorbed and/or evaporated.
  • 4-5 small apples, peeled, cored then thinly sliced (as if you are making apple pie filling)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (I was out of lemon so used OJ. It was fine.)
3. While the dough is being made and apples are cooking, make some “fake custard” by whisking together the following in a small bowl, then microwave for 15 seconds, followed by some vigorous whisking. Repeat this “15-sec microwaving” and “vigorous whisking” until it gets curdled. This is not the prettiest custard, but it’s quick/easy and does the job just fine.
  • 2 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • a little vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk (I was out of milk so used half and half).
When the dough cycle is over, turn out the dough onto a floured surface, roll out into a somewhat rectangle-ish shape, spread the custard then the apples, then roll into a log. Pinch the end really well. If your dough is healthy, however, it is impossible to roll it out into a flat rectangle. But fighting the dough at this point is kind of satisfying. I enjoy it a lot, especially since I am not having to divide it into equal parts or shapeit into perfectly oval rolls.
The log is then sliced into 12 or so non- or semi-equal parts. Each of this is dunked into melted butter (I microwaved about 3/8 cup butter), and thrown into a Pam-sprayed Bundt pan. Keep the pan warm for about 30 minutes until the size doubles, then bake it in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes.

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