Blackberry Monkey Bread with Vanilla Sauce


Whenever my sister comes to town, I make Monkey Bread. She's the one who turned me onto Smitten's version and it's been nothing a sensation since. It's small rounds of dough, dipped in butter, rolled in cinnamon/sugar, stacked together, and baked to perfection. This idea is similar to Portuguese desserts like rebanadas and filhoses. They key difference is Monkey Bread is not fried. 
This winter, I stumbled upon a new version of the classic by Kinfolk: monkey bread stuffed with blackberries. My brother's favorite fruit is blackberries and the rest of the family enjoys them as well. Christmas was the perfect opportunity to try it out!


The concept of this recipe is amazing. The execution... had me a little frustrated. The Kinfolk recipe does not provide the most detailed directions.

1irst, it says that you need "300 blackberries or 10 cups." That's a LOT of blackberries. All you need is 4-5 blackberries per round. So that's  20 rounds of dough X 5 blackberries = 120 blackberries max. I'm seeing a slight discrepancy... and a lot of leftover blackberries.



2econd, it doesn't tell you what size dish to use for baking. I looked at the picture and couldn't accurately gauge the size. So I went with a standard 9-inch round tart dish and lo... things were barely fitting. The result was a muffin top look, with bread literally spilling over the edges and the center not cooked all the way through.

Use a 10-inch round pan and if you're worried about burning the top, place aluminum foil on top  when it starts to brown (around 20 minutes).  I think smaller rounds would be great to incorporate more blackberries in the dough... an experiment for another day!
3hird, and final concern is the amount of yeast.... a whooping 3 tablespoons. What in the world? For a single layer of rounds? Regular monkey bread has 2 1/4 teaspoons and almost the same amount of flour. Could someone please explain the need for THIS much yeast? Does it expedite the rising? Just sniffing the final product, my "2nd mom" (a pro in the kitchen) said, "smells yeasty." 


All that aside... yes. It is a lovely thought and I am very excited to try it again with the usual dough recipe.   Everyone enjoyed the outer ring of well cooked yumminess. The powdered sugar on top was a beautiful touch and really made this feel like the holidays.  It's like a dusting of sweet snow!


The other awesome add-on to this bread is a warm vanilla bean dipping sauce. It's a rich concoction of egg yolks, a whole vanilla bean, and dairy. It's very mild in flavor and is the perfect accent to the tartness of the blackberries.


I mean seriously... check out Susana licking the plate clean... yah bet you didn't think I could snap a picture that quick huh lady? Got that ninja status! Beijus!


Note: if you're using fresh blackberries, it is best to buy them the day of because they tend to go bad very easily. If you need to buy some time, wash them in a 3 to 1 ratio of water and white vinegar (i.e. 3 cups water plus 1 cup white vinegar).

Give it a shot and let me know your results! All insights and input are welcome. For the full recipe, check out Kinfolk!