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Russian Coffee Cake with Pineapple Walnut Filling

Serves 12-18


Sweet Yeast Dough
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon rapid-rise yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 yolks
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Pineapple Filling
2 cups crushed pineapple, not drained
1 cup diced dried pineapple
2 cups yellow or dark raisins
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice, approximately
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup apricot or peach jam
Finishing Touches
Egg wash, 1 egg, pinch sugar


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Generously spray a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixer bowl, hand whisk the water and yeast together and let stand 2-3 minutes to dissolve the yeast. Briskly whisk in the milk, sugar, salt, egg, egg yolks, butter, lemon extract, vanilla, baking powder, and about half of the flour. Mix well, and then knead with the dough hook on the lowest speed of the mixer about 3-5 minutes, adding in more flour as necessary to make a soft dough. Remove the dough hook and spray the dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the entire mixer and bowl with a large clear plastic bag and let rise about 60-90 minutes or until almost doubled.

Meanwhile, for the filling, put the pineapple, (both types), sugar, orange juice, lemon juice and raisins in a small saucepan. Simmer, stirring often, to soften fruit, adding in cinnamon, lemon juice for about 20 minutes over low heat to make a thick filling. Add water if fruit is not softened but mixture is drying out. When it is done, stir in cornstarch mixture, which will thicken it more and give it a gloss. Then remove from heat and fold walnuts and jam. Mixture should be like a thick filling (but it does thicken as it cools). Cool well (you can refrigerate it right away and in 20-30 minutes it will be cool enough to use).

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Gently turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in four sections. Roll each out to fit a 9 by 13 inch. As dough retracts, move on to another section of dough, allowing sections to rest and then it will be easier to stretch and/or roll. Arrange one section of dough in the prepared pan. Spread one-third of the filling on the dough. Cover with another portion of dough, then filling, etc. finishing with dough. Press down lightly. Brush top with egg wash and dust with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake 45 minutes or so, until top is well browned. Cool completely on a rack. This cake is better if allowed to rest for a day before serving. Wrap it in aluminum foil and place in refrigerator. Cut in big squares to serve.


Very old Europe and very, very good. This is a dense coffeecake/pastry, made with a special dough that really morphs something else that I cannot even quite describe. The dough is rolled thin and layered with this unbelievable pineapple filling. Asked to replicate something from this very find bakery I have yet to visit,
I created something special in its own right but with that wonderful New York City bakery quality about it.