Miriam Shows us What she’s Made Of
Having been a part of Baltzersen’s just under a month now, new chef Miriam ventured in to the pastry kitchen earlier this week to give us a taste of her Jewish family heritage.
Why should the scandis have all the fun? Miriam wanted to open our hearts, minds and bellies to the Eastern European answer to a cinnamon bun: the ‘Chocolate Krantz Cake’.
“Halfway between a family recipe and a really traditional sweetbread” she describes the cake she baked so often with her mother as a child, and that has now become so intrinsic in her mind that she no longer follows a recipe.
Traditional Sweet Bread
The sweet bread is composed of a simple milk dough made with flour, sugar, salt, butter, vanilla and egg yolks. This is then kneaded and left to rise over night.
Watching Miriam work with the dough is mesmerising. Despite all the modern machinery the chefs have at their disposal in the kitchen, she insists on using her hands, as this is the way she always did things with her mother.
Like the dough, Miriam arises early the next morning to roll out the bread and spread it with a chocolate paste. She then rolls it into a swirl and, unlike with a cinnamon bun which is cut widthways, cuts along it’s length.
The lengths of dough are then braided together to create an intricate pattern of golden pastry and rich dark chocolate.
The sweetbread is then left to cook and the smells drifting from the oven means it is met with an eager audience when it’s removed less than an hour later.
Miriam met her boyfriend, an original team member at Baltzersen’s, whilst studying ancient texts in her hometown of Toronto. Looking for a new adventure after she finished her studies, she decided to return with him to Harrogate. He bought her in to the café when she arrived a few weeks ago and she immediately impressed us with her knowledge and passion for food, leaving us no choice but to quickly snap her up.
Miriam had been working at a tiny artisan coffee house in Toronto called Sense Appeal, which she claims did the best espresso in the city, and it’s been great to have her bring her knowledge of Canada’s coffee scene to Baltzersen’s.
The Finished Product
Back to the cake and the finished product is truly a sight for sore eyes. The stripes of chocolate have burst, resulting in an almost marbled effect that seems to have required hours of complex plaiting and folding. The delicate glaze oozes into the crevasses of the syrupy dough, enticing us to rip apart the mass of twirls to reveal the sweet, fluffy centre.
Miriam has successfully proven that it’s not only the Scandinavians who know the secret to a perfect pastry. She explains that this recipe has recently been revived by Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, however she emphasises that it’s been a staple on the tables of Jewish homes for 100’s of years.
‘Miriam’s Chocolate Krantz Cake’ will be on sale for a limited time only so hurry and get try before it’s gone!