Rum soaked cakes from the Neapolitan cookbook.
Welcome to the GialloZafferano kitchen. I’m Sonia and today we’ll be making a dessert that exemplifies Neapolitan cuisine: Baba. Let’s see what we’ll need:
• 2 cups of flour
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tsp of salt
• 2.5 tbsp of sugar
• 1 and 1/3 tbsp of yeast
• 9 tbsp of room temperature butter
• ¼ cup of milk And for the syrup:
• 2 cups of water
• 2 and ½ cups of sugar
• A glass of rum
• And 2 tablespoons of apricot jam for coating the baba
Let’s make our baba!
The first thing to do is to pour the yeast into a small bowl. Now, add two teaspoons of sugar and some warm milk. Mix for a little and then wait until a foam forms on the surface.
To make the baba, you need a mixer with a bread-hook attachment. Add the flour to the bowl, then close and turn the mixer on a slow speed. Now add the salt to the beat eggs, mix together and then add to the mixer bowl. Now you can add the yeast mixture. Leave it to mix together completely at a gentle speed and then turn it off and with a spatula move any mixture on the sides of the bowl into the centre so every bit of the flour has been mixed in.
While you’re putting together the dough, let the butter soften in a bowl and add the remaining sugar. When you’ve mixed this together, you can add this to the dough which is still being worked in the mixer.
The kitchen mixer is finished bringing everything together. This is the consistency you should be looking for. Now we need to add the butter and sugar mixture while the hook is going at a fast speed. Close it up again, start the mixer and add the butter.
Now that we’ve finished the batter, add it to a bowl which should be buttered. Pour it in and afterwards cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and let it rise in a very warm place (about 75 degrees F) for about an hour and a half and until the mix has doubled in size.
After an hour and a half, our baba batter looks like this. As you can see it’s grown quite a bit. Get rid of the plastic wrap and then with a ladle…voila! it’s fallen back to its original size. Don’t worry about this — it’s normal. Now scoop your batter into baba moulds which should be floured and buttered beforehand . Fill them halfway like this. With this amount of batter, you’ll make about 12 baba. These moulds are about 2 and a third inches high and have a one and a half inch diameter at the base.
Here we are. All 12 moulds are filled halfway. Leave them to rest on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes and then they’re ready to be baked in an oven preheated to 200c. After 10 minutes at this temperature, lower the heat to 180 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.
In this sauce pan I’m making the syrup for the baba. Put the water up to boil and then add the sugar and dissolve the sugar completely. Now you can add the rum. You can also replace this with limoncello if you’d like.
Here are our baba out of the oven and cooled. In this pot I’ve heated some of the syrup and I’ve added two baba to soak. Once the cakes are well soaked take them out and press them a bit. After this, you can brush them with the apricot jam softened over a low heat.
Here are our baba! Now you can choose to cut them in half and fill them with some whipped cream and fresh fruit, or you can pour a bit more rum over them if you’d like them to have a more pronounced rum flavour.