French Coffee Lace w/ Caramelized Pears, Raisins and Nuts Oh My!

This recipe was SO FUN to make but the anticipation was killer.  You had better have activities planned for in between each rising time or it is paaaiinful.  My roommate Mary Thorn and I both stumbled upon this recipe separately and each vowed to make it.  So it was fate.  We got the recipe from a really great Betty Crocker cook book that organizes recipes clearly in a hierarchy of steps and pictures.  So here it is:

For the dough

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1 Tbs yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup soft shortening
  • 2-2 1/2 cups flour

Mix milk, sugar and yeast together and let sit till foamy.  Mix together egg and shortening, then add to yeast mixture.  Add 2 cups of four in two additions, add more flour as necessary.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.  Place the dough in a greased bowl and let sit for 2 hours in a warm spot.  Once doubled in size, press down the dough and let rise another 30 minutes.  In the meantime…

For the filling

  • 2 cups finely chopped pears
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped raisins
  • 3/4 cup fined chopped almonds
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • dash salt
  • dash cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and boil for 1 minute.  Set aside.

Now comes the fun part.  Once the dough has doubled in size yet again, roll it out into a long rectangle shape.  Spread the filling in a thin line down the center of the dough and cut the leftover sides of dough into strips for braiding.  Betty Crocker does a great job of illustrating this step here:

Great success!  Mary Thorn and I had way too much fun braiding this baby.  Now you’re not gonna believe this but… its time to let the whole shebang rise for ANOTHER 30 minutes.  Once it has doubled in size, pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes on 375 and you’re almost there. Only one last step now- the icing- and you NEEEEED the icing.  It’s pretty simple:

For the icing

  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tb cream
  • dash vanila
  • lemon zest

Mix together, brush on and VOILA!  You’re masterpiece is done.