Ugat Shmarim is Hebrew for...get this...."Yeast cake".
That sounds awful.
In reality, it's a moist, sweet, cinnamon roll type pastry. Instead of cinnamon it is filled with ooey gooey chocolate, and it's braided in a loaf pan instead of in small rolls. It's usually topped with a syrup that soaks all the way in.
I didn't take pictures of measurements, etc, but only when I started rolling out the dough.
Before we get to the final pictures, here is the recipe. I modified this from a different recipe, halved it, converted metric etc etc, so it's weird measurements, sorry!
Israeli Chocolate "yeast cake" Pastry
Makes two loaves
4 and 2/3 cup of all purpose flour
3/8 cup white sugar (I used a 1/2 cup, and then filled a 1/4 cup halfway)
1 tbs and 1 tsp of dry active yeast
1/2 cup vegetable oil (any neutral oil is fine)
1.5 cups water at 100 degrees
1 egg and 1 tablespoon of milk
Filling: (I didn't make enough filling, so for the purpose of this recipe, I am doubling what I used - trust me)
1 cup vegetable oil (any neutral oil is fine)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1.5 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
juice from 1/4 of a lemon
-In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients of the dough. Stir in the oil. Stir in the water (the water cannot be hot, it must not be more than 110 degrees - WARM is key, or use a meat thermometer). Mix everything together, cover with a paper towel, and let sit for 45 minutes.
-Mix all ingredients of the filling while the dough rises in a separate bowl, and mix all the ingredients of the syrup in a very small sauce pan
-Split your dough into 4 "balls". Roll each one out into a rectangular sheet on a floured surface. I prefer a french rolling pin. Add 1/4 of the chocolate filling, and spread out. Roll the dough into a log. Do this to all four balls of dough. Dust with flour as you work to ensure it does not stick to any surface.
-Take two of the logs of dough, and braid them, as pictured above. Do this to the other two logs. Place in two separate loaves.
-Mix the egg and milk, and use a pastry brush to brush onto the dough.
-Put in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
-While the cakes are baking, heat up your syrup and stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture bubbles. Make sure not to overheat, so it does not caramelize into candy! The key is to have the syrup ready by the time the cakes come out!
-As soon as the cakes are ready, take them out of the oven, and pour half of the syrup onto each cake. It may seem like a lot but it should absorb into the cake!
-Let cool (enough time so you don't burn yourself).
My mom sent me this picture this morning:
Here is a picture of me - I was literally jumping up and down in my friend Jaren's kitchen after I had braided these. I grew up eating these and never knew they were so simple. Now I had made them!! Unfortunately, the picture Jaren snapped was NOT good - my eyes look quite interesting, so I covered them with fake sunglasses. I do think my pure joy is evoked, and hope you will feel it when you try this recipe!
Now YOU go make it!