I never visited a Jewish bakery during my short-lived time in New York last week. Needless to say, I deeply regretted it after I bit into the Babka and my mouth experienced all that crunch from the crust and chew from the cake/bread hybrid.
Side note if you’re thinking about visiting New York: Please do, it will make you feel like Deb Perelman, if only for a couple of weeks. Also, there are the most amazing-ly (cheap) juicy burgers at Five Guys and almond croissants at Dominique Ansel’s bakery (not so cheap).
My brother in law bought me the New York Cult Recipes cookbook for Christmas and the Babka was one of the many impressive creations within (New York cheesecake is next on the list, but I’m afraid it’ll be too difficult not to destroy it with my mouth before taking pictures). Nearly all of the ingredients used in the Babka can be found tucked away in kitchen cupboards, which is one of the reasons why I chose it, whose got time to run to the supermarket on Boxing Day slash ever?
Adapted from New York Cult Recipes By Marc Grossman
1 egg + 1 egg yolk + 1 egg white
125g butter, melted + 100g, softened
300g plain flour
3/4 tsp dried active yeast
2 pinches salt
50g + 125g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
2 tbsp demerara sugar
Note: I’ve discovered this thing recently. Its called refrigerating yeasted dough’s overnight so that they taste ten trillion billion times yeastier. Its amazing. But by all means, don’t feel like you have go with me on this. The Babka will taste just as good if proofed for just 1 hour before baking. I just like to proof dough for a little longer, almost like testing the waters before the dough ends up tasting like stale beer.
Make the dough. Add the buttermilk, egg plus egg yolk and melted butter to a freestanding mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the yeast, salt, 50g sugar and plain flour and knead on medium speed for 6 - 10 minutes. The dough should come away from the bowl and feel elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 and a 1/2 hours.
Make the filling. Stir together 125g sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside.
Shape and bake dough. Roll the dough out into a 40cm rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the dough and sprinkle its entirety with the filling. Roll the dough up along its length so that you have a short log instead of a long one. Twist the ends to seal in the mixture. Grease a 8/9 inch loaf tin and place inside. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
Uncover the babka, brush with egg white and sprinkle with demarara sugar. Put a bowl of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven and place the babka on the top shelf. Leave to proof for half an hour. Remove the babka, preheat the oven to 180 C and bake for 50 minutes.
Make a simple glaze of icing sugar and cream and add a drop of orange blossom water. Drizzle over the top when still warm, as the babka is best enjoyed when fresh out of the oven, but lasts for 2 days!
I hope everyone had the best Christmas ever. What plans do you have for New Year's Eve?
Love Em xx