In my version of the classic rum baba I’m using an infusion of cider and cinnamon to give a welcome, refreshing, tangy flavour. They are served with a cinnamon Chantilly cream, or you could try ice cream – I know which one I would go for, though!
For the Babas
200g/7oz/heaped 1⅔cupsstrong white flour
apinch of salt
1tbspcaster (superfine) sugar
60g/2¼ozunsalted butter, very soft, plus extra for greasing
7g/¼oz fresh yeast or 5g/⅛ozdried yeast mixed with 1tbspwarm water
To make the babas, put all the ingredients in a food mixer bowl and, using the dough hook, mix slowly until it forms a soft dough, then remove the bowl from the machine. (Alternatively, put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix using a wooden spoon for 2 minutes until it forms a soft dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 6 minutes until smooth.) Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes until risen by half. When risen, press it down with one hand to knock back.
Lightly grease a 12-hole deep muffin tin and put on a baking sheet. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, each about the size of a golf ball. Take a ball of dough in your hand, form a fist and squeeze the dough out through the bottom of your fist into a muffin hole. Repeat with all the dough. (It is important that the muffin holes are only half filled to allow the dough to rise.) Cover with a clean dish towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make the cider and cinnamon infusion. Put the cider and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
To make the cinnamon Chantilly cream, whip the cream with the sugar and ground cinnamon, using an electric whisk, until soft peaks form. Cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Bake the babas for about 12 minutes, turning the tin once, until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Remove the cinnamon stick and check that the cider and cinnamon infusion is still warm. If not, reheat it briefly. Carefully dip the babas, two at a time, into the cider infusion, pushing them under until wet and heavy. Serve the babas with the cinnamon Chantilly cream.