Babka: Apricot and Cream Cheese Schmear Filling

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About

This tangy, creamy filling was adapted from the Standard Baking Co. Pastries cookbook by Alison Pray and Tara Smith.


Apricot Filling

dried apricots cups 9 ounces 255 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained (about 3 large lemons) ½ cup (118 ml) 4.4 ounces 126 grams
orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained (about 2 large oranges) ½ cup (118 ml) 4.3 ounces 121 grams
sugar 2 tablespoons 0.9 ounce 25 grams

Cream Cheese Filling

1 large egg white, at room temperature, lightly beaten 2 tablespoons (30 ml), divided 1 ounce 30 grams
pure vanilla extract ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) . .
pure almond extract ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) . .
orange zest, freshly grated ¼ teaspoon . 0.5 gram
fine sea salt a pinch . .
cream cheese (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C) ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons 8 ounces 227 grams
sugar 2 tablespoons 0.9 ounce 25 grams


Make the Apricot Filling

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the dried apricots, lemon juice, orange juice, and sugar. Over medium-low heat, simmer the mixture until the apricots are very soft when pierced with a skewer and the lemon and orange juices are reduced by half, 20 to 25 minutes. (To confirm that the juices are reduced, start by weighing the pan and the combined ingredients. Set a heat pad on the scale, set the pan with the mixture on top, and tare out the weight. When the juices look like they have been reduced by half, return the pan to the scale. The weight will be −4.3 ounces/−122 grams.) In a small food processor, puree the apricot mixture until it has a jamlike consistency. Scrape it into a small glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Make the Cream Cheese Filling

In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon/15 ml/0.5 ounce/15 grams of the egg white, the vanilla, almond extract, orange zest, and salt until evenly combined. Reserve the remaining egg white, covered. In a medium bowl, with a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Add the egg mixture and beat until evenly incorporated.

Spread the Fillings

Brush the dough with the reserved egg white, leaving a ½ inch border on all sides. Using a small offset spatula, spread the apricot filling evenly over the egg white wash. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the apricot filling.