This adults-only dessert was inspired by a visit to a distillery during my travels in the Kimberley. Steeped in rum syrup, these are brilliant with creme anglais, a light vanilla custard. 






Skill level

Average: 3 (20 votes)



  • 60 ml whole milk
  • 30 ml cream
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 225 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 60 g melted butter
  • Finely chopped glace angelica, to serve, optional


  • 750 g sugar
  • 750 g water
  • 200 ml dark rum


Creme anglaise

  • 250 ml full cream (whole) milk
  • 250 ml thick (double) cream
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 6 large free-range egg yolks  

Cook's notes

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 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Rising time: 15 minutes

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place milk and cream in a small saucepan. Warm to blood temperature, then remove from heat. Pour in a small bowl, stirring in sugar and yeast. Set aside until frothy (about 15 minutes).

Sift the salt and flour into a bowl, stirring in the frothy milk mixture and beaten eggs. Pour in the warm melted butter (do not mix) and cover the bowl with cling film. Set aside until the dough rises (about 15 minutes).

Remove film, and with a wooden spoon work in the butter until smooth. Grease 8 metal 80ml dariole moulds and place on a baking tray. Spoon the mixture in, filling the moulds about three-quarters full. Set aside to rise (15-30 minutes).

Bake at 200°C for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C and bake until golden, about 10-15 minutes. When cooked, leave to cool before removing babas from the moulds.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, boil the water and sugar in a saucepan until dissolved. Stir in the rum and set aside to cool. 

To make the creme anglaise, put the milk, double cream and 1 tbsp of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add them to the pan. Heat until almost simmering. Take off the heat.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until creamy. Gradually pour the hot creamy milk onto the sugary yolks, whisking as you do so. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Stir the mixture over a low heat until the custard thickens enough to thinly coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil as it will curdle.
Remove from the heat and strain the custard again through a fine sieve into a cold bowl (unless you are serving it hot right away). Leave to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
Place the babas in the rum syrup and submerge until no more air bubbles are released. Drain and place on a cake rack. Serve with creme anglaise.