Rum Baba

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Cooking is about tradition, and this recipe is one of its symbols. For a gastronome, simply hearing the words “rum baba” makes the mouth water and conjures up an image of something delicious, moist and fragrant, syrupy and soft… in other words, a moment of perfect pleasure. To see a baba wearing its shiny apricot glaze, waiting to receive the anointing of aged rum, and ultimately to be accompanied by a vanilla cream is to witness a small masterwork of good taste. It is my favorite dessert, and you will find it on the menu at Monaco’s Louis XV restaurant. This version was created in memory of the dessert served at the wedding of King Louis XV to Poland’s Princess Marie Leszczyňska.

Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Baba Dough

  • 1 cup + 4 tsp or 4 ⅔ oz (130 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ oz (6 g) fresh baker’s yeast
  • ¼ tsp (1 g) salt
  • 1 ½ tsp (6 g) honey
  • 3 tbsp (45 g) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 ½ tbsp (100 ml) grape seed oil

Baba Syrup

  • 4 cups (1 L) water
  • 1 lb (450 g) sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 vanilla pod (seeds removed set aside)

Apricot Glaze

  • 6 tbsp (75 g) superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp (4 g) pectin NH
  • ½ cup (125 ml) apricot pulp
  • ½ cup (125 ml) baba syrup

Vanilla Cream

  • 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) superfine sugar

Method

Prepare the baba dough

Combine the flour and yeast in a food processor bowl. Then add the salt, honey, butter, and 1 egg. Knead to obtain a smooth, glossy, elastic dough. When it pulls away from the sides of the bowl, gradually incorporate the remaining 2 eggs and finish kneading.

Place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.

Prepare the baba syrup

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan, bring to a boil, then cool.

Pectin NH is a natural gelling agent extracted from the skin and seeds of fruit.

It is sold in drugstores and supermarkets.

Prepare the apricot glaze

Combine the sugar and pectin in a bowl. Heat the apricot pulp and the baba syrup in a pot to 105°F (40°C); add the sugar-pectin mixture. Boil for several minutes, then cool.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Use 2-inch (5-cm) baba molds and brush with oil. Put 1-oz (30 g) of dough into each mold and tap the base on a work surface to expel any air bubbles. The dough will rise to the top of the molds and should be puffy.

Bake the babas until golden.

Cooking the babas takes 25 to 30 minutes. However, oven temperatures can differ, so color is the best guide.

Soak the babas in lukewarm syrup to avoid damaging. Set them aside to absorb the syrup and swell. Drain on a rack.

Brush the babas with the apricot glaze and set aside at room temperature.

Grapeseed oil is odorless and withstands high temperatures. It is ideal for frying or for oiling molds

Prepare the vanilla cream

Combine all the ingredients and whisk until light and frothy.

Place the babas in dessert dishes. Cut in half and drizzle the soft insides with rum. Serve the vanilla cream on the side.

Drink Pairing

Feel free to replace the rum with Armagnac.

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