Rum baba recipe
- Cuisine: French
- Prep Time: 35 min(s)
- Cook Time: 20 min(s)
- Serves 10
A classic dessert of small yeasted cakes soaked in a vanilla kirsch syrup.
Proving time: 1 hour
Level of difficulty: Medium
Special equipment: Electric mixer with paddle attachment; 20 x 5.5cm round moulds; piping bag with 8mm nozzle
Planning ahead: The cooked babas can be frozen and then defrosted before soaking
IngredientsFor the dough
200g strong white flour (see note 1)
70g unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature (see note 2)
15g white sugar (see note 3)
3g vanilla paste
10g fresh yeast (see note 4)
3 pinches sea salt (see note 5)
250g medium eggs, beaten (see note 6)
For the syrup
100g white sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
55ml kirsch or framboise
1 orange strip, skin only
1 lemon strip, skin only
250g fruit jam
250g crème fraîche
PreparationTo make the dough, place the flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, yeast and salt (separating yeast and salt as it will damage its ability to ferment, see note 7) in a bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment. Add 200g of egg and beat on minimum speed for 4 minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl using a plastic scrape card, increase to speed 2 and beat for 6 minutes, until dough becomes elastic (see note 8).
Scrape the sides of the bowl again. In five small batches, add remaining egg and the water, beating, until completely incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover loosely with a towel to prevent air drying surface of the dough and a crust forming, and stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, to prove (see note 9).
Preheat oven to 170°C. Lightly butter and flour the moulds, then line the bases with small circles of greaseproof paper. With a scrape card or spatula, release the dough from the bowl and spoon into a piping bag. Pipe 30g of dough into each mould. Stand again for 30 minutes to prove, until the dough two-thirds fills the mould (see note 10).
Bake the babas for 20 minutes. Transfer to a tray to cool.
Meanwhile, to make the syrup, bring all the ingredients to a boil in a large pan over a high heat. Remove from the heat and cool to 40˚C.
Place four babas each in five separate bowls. Pour a little syrup over each, repeating several times. Transfer the soaked babas to a wire rack to drain and cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve with jam and crème fraîche.
1 This recipe requires a strong flour with a high gluten content, as do all bread recipes and dough. I am lucky to live by an excellent mill that I first used in 1981 when I opened my first bakery, Maison Blanc. It is our local mill, Shipton Mill, and to this day we still use them. 2 Room temperature butter incorporates much quicker into the dough, producing a silky smooth texture, avoiding lumps in the dough and an inconsistent bread.
3 The inclusion of sugar in the dough is to help the yeast ferment and produce carbon dioxide, creating wonderful bubbles and air pockets and giving a light and soft bread.
4 If fresh yeast is unavailable, then dried yeast can be used but use half the quantity. It is important to know that yeast is sleeping at 4°C, best active between 20–40°C and destroyed at 45–50°C.
5 Always use the best salt with the least refining. Never use salt with anti-caking additives. 6 Always buy organic or free-range eggs. They follow good husbandry practices and good ethical standards. The best-before date sets the shelf life of the egg, which is 21 days after it has been laid. Try to use fresh eggs.
7 Try to keep the salt and yeast separated until you are ready to combine the dough ingredients, as the salt can dry out the yeast, leaving it unable to properly ferment.
8 As you knead the dough, the proteins within the gluten are being worked, making them more elastic and resulting in a smooth dough. This happens as the moisture (the water) has been fully incorporated into the flour.
9 When proving the dough for the first time, the yeast starts to be active as low as 5°C, but for baking, the best proving is at around 22°C. The warmer the room is, the faster the proving time, but the taste won’t be as developed, nor will the volume. What’s happening at this stage is extraordinary, through the fermentation of the yeast, the sugars are converted into ethanol (alcohol), the alcohol is transformed into carbon dioxide, which in turn creates millions of bubbles expanding through the dough. When the dough is baked, the yeast dies off and the bubbles set, leaving a wonderful light, soft texture. A slow fermentation of yeast creates a better flavour and also a greater rise.
10 When proving the dough for the second time, the same chemistry is happening but this will increase the activity of the yeast, creating wonderful sweet and sour flavours and, of course, puffing out the dough.
SBS cook’s notes
This recipe has been reproduced with minor SBS recipe style changes. | Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20ml; 1 cup equals 250ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55–60g, unless specified.
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When removing the zest from an orange or a lemon, be sure to avoid as much of the pith (the white part) as possible. This is very bitter and will detract from the taste.
Mild, long green chillies named after the area near Los Angeles where they were once grown. Available canned (whole or chopped), or fresh.