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Author Notes: A quick and easy "steamed dumpling cake" in caramel sauce -- perfect for New Year's Eve parties! —Joan Nathan
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled (3 1/2 sticks)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 5-6 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Dissolve the yeast in a mixing bowl with the lukewarm milk and sugar. Stir and add the egg yolks, melted butter, salt, vanilla, and brandy. Gradually add 5 cups of the flour, then add more if needed. The dough will be very soft. Beat well with a spoon or an electric mixer and let rise, covered, for an hour. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- After the dough returns to room temperature, flour a board and roll the dough out to 1-inch thick. Cut circles 2 inches in diameter with a small biscuit or cookie cutter. Arrange a layer of rounds on the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper, almost touching, then continue layering until you have used up all the dough. Allow to rise 45 minutes to 1 hour, covered.
- In a saucepan mix the sugar with ¼ cup of the water. Very gradually add the remaining water, stirring constantly. Simmer on medium heat until slightly caramel in color, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the butter, syrup, and cream, and simmer a few more minutes until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes, then add the vanilla.
- After the dumplings have risen, bake at 375 on the bottom rack of the oven for 45 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and prick the top with the tines of a fork. Just before serving reheat the caramel sauce and pour over the cake. Let the sauce seep through then flip the cake onto a serving plate. Cut in slices and serve with vanilla ice cream.
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