Method

Beat 6 cups egg yolks, strain into a stoneware bowl, sprinkle on 6 full spoons sugar, and beat until white. Add 6 cups flour and 6 spoons very thick yeast, mix, and let rise. Add about 2 cups warm butter, 10 beaten egg whites, and something for flavoring. Beat the dough as well as possible and fill one-third of a baking pan. After it has risen, set in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, place on a pillow, etc. (For 6 people use the indicated proportions.)

This baba is extraordinarily tasty when it succeeds, but it rarely succeeds.*

*This recipe, with its prodigal use of egg yolks (6 glasses = 70 yolks) and its kicker of a last line, is one of the most quoted in the book. For a modern reader, the image of those sixty leftover egg whites is sufficiently daunting; how many cooks would be intrepid enough to risk a second attempt? The outrageous inconsistency between Molokhovet’s kopeck-pinching frugality and her occasional offhand extravagance—of which this recipe is the most notable example—is appealing in its timelessness.

Loading
Loading
Loading