Rhum Babas

This is an outrageously sticky pudding, soaking in rum and covered in syrup – a good heart stopper. It was one of my mother’s favourite delicacies and she lived to eighty-eight.


  • 25g/1oz fresh yeast
  • 150ml/¼ pint warm milk
  • 225g/8oz strong flour pinch of salt
  • 55g/2oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 55g/2oz butter, softened
  • 85g/3oz sultanas pinch of salt
  • 300ml/½ pint freshly whipped cream, to serve

For the Syrup

  • 300ml/½ pint water
  • 225g/8oz sugar
  • 6 tbsp rum


Blend yeast, milk and 55g/2oz of the flour in a bowl and leave to stand in a warm place until frothy. Sift the remaining flour and salt into a large bowl and add the caster sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the frothy yeast mixture and mix with a wooden spoon. Gradually beat in the eggs and softened butter. Beat the mixture well, then cover with a cloth and leave to rise until double in bulk. Punch down the dough and knead in the sultanas. Put the dough into small greased ring moulds, half filling them, and leave to rise again until the dough is level with the top of the mould. Cook in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for 15–20 minutes.

To make the syrup, dissolve the sugar in the water over a gentle heat for a few minutes, then stir in the rum. When the babas are cooked, leave them to cool in the moulds for a few minutes, then turn out and immerse in hot syrup. Remove from the syrup and serve with freshly-whipped cream.