Chocolate Babka

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    1

    loaf (about 25 x 10 cm )

Appears in

If you like your babka very sweet and moist, brush with sugar syrup after baking. To make the syrup, heat 100 g (3½ oz) sugar and 60 ml (¼ cup) water in a small saucepan. Briefly bring to a boil and set aside. Brush the babka with the syrup as soon as it comes out of the oven, then leave to cool a little.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 290 g (10¼ oz) flour
  • tsp dried yeast
  • 40 g ( oz) sugar
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) lukewarm milk
  • 70 g ( oz) butter, softened

For the filling

  • 50 g ( oz) hazelnuts, blanched, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 70 g ( oz) high-quality semi-sweet chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 50 g ( oz) butter
  • 25 g (1 oz) icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Also

  • Butter for the tin
  • Flour for dusting the work surface

Method

For the dough, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, milk and butter and knead everything for about 10 minutes to make a smooth, pliable dough. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave the dough to rise for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, for the filling, dry-roast the hazelnuts in a small frying pan. Add the sugar and caramelise lightly. Combine the semi-sweet chocolate and butter and melt over a double boiler. Set aside to cool, then stir in the icing sugar and cocoa powder.

Butter the loaf tin. Dust your benchtop with flour and roll the dough out to a rectangle about 35 x 25 cm (14 x 10 inches) size. Spread the chocolate filling evenly across the dough, leaving a margin of about 1.5 cm (5/8 inch). Sprinkle with the caramelised nuts, then roll up the dough tightly and evenly, starting from the narrow side. Halve the rolled-up dough lengthwise with a sharp knife to allow the layers of dough and filling to fan out decoratively. Pinch the ends together and carefully intertwine the two strands, making sure that the cut surfaces always point upwards. Transfer the intertwined dough roll to the loaf tin, cover and set aside to rise for another hour.

Make sure to preheat the oven in time to 175°C (330°F/Gas mark 4-5). Bake the babka for 30–35 minutes. If the surface gets too dark, cover the loaf with aluminium foil after about half of the baking time. Remove the tin from the oven and set aside to cool before removing the babka from the tin. Leave to cool fully before slicing.