If you’ve arrived at this post randomly, you’d be forgiven for asking, “Rum What?”. I even starting wondering if I had somehow conjured up an imaginary dessert. I was sure I had it once or twice, somewhere overseas or interstate, but I could never find a restaurant or patisserie back home in Perth that made Rum Babas to confirm if what I ate was indeed a Rum Baba. I just know I enjoyed it, whatever it was.
Last year, I unexpectedly found a Rum Baba at Mondo Nougat in the Swan Valley which thrilled me no end. With my Baba Fever finally abated, I moved on to other delicious obsessions for the rest of 2013. That is, until Monsieur Mollois’ fabulous book, Pâtissier entered my life… This book is chock-full of recipes for delectable pastries, biscuits and cakes, but what won me over thoroughly was Emmanuel’s recipe for Rum Baba (Baba au Rhum). Mais non! The obsession stirred again.
Pâtissier is one of three books I’m currently working with quite a bit and I will write a dedicated post for it later this month. I initially intended for the Rum Baba to be incorporated into the review post but given how much I’ve been crushing on this dessert, I thought it should have its own blog post. Scratch that. Given how completely AMAZING a homemade Rum Baba turned out, it had to have its own blog post.
So after all this rambling, what exactly is a Rum Baba? In short, it is a brioche-style, yeasted mini bun that is left to dry out for a day or two before being soaked in a glorious syrup consisting of dark rum and other irresistible flavours. Unfortunately, I’d guess most commercially made Rum Babas suffer the fate of refrigeration, which dries these buns out into cold, dry, hard hacky sacks so I can’t urge people more to make their own and enjoy them immediately.
I’m pleased to say that my Baba Fever has broken again but I could easily be convinced to make another batch for a summer BBQ dessert any time. They are lovely and light in texture, and don’t need anything more than a good dollop of cream and some accompanying summer fruit. The Baba buns can be made in advance so if entertaining, you really only need to prepare the syrup and soak the Babas a few hours out from serving. Try not to eat them all beforehand though! :)
- Baba ingredients: 7g dried yeast (1 tsp)
- 50ml lukewarm whole milk
- 175g plain flour
- 20g sugar
- 2 eggs
- half a pinch of salt
- zest of ½ lemon
- 75g butter, diced
- Syrup ingredients: 250ml/g water
- 125g caster sugar
- skin of ½ orange and ½ lemon
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ grated vanilla bean
- 30g dark rum
- To glaze - 2 tbsp of apricot jam & 2 tsp hot water heated up together to form a syrupy mix. Try a marmalade if no apricot jam in the house :D
- Place half of the milk in a small bowl and add yeast, mixing a little. Allow yeast to activate, until a little frothy.
- Place flour and sugar in TMX and our milk/yeast mixture on top.
- Use Knead function for 10 minutes, allowing flour, sugar and milk/yeast to combine for first minute. Add one egg and allow to blend for second minute. Add milk and allow to combine for third minute. Add second egg and allow to combine for fourth minute. Add lemon zest and salt and allow dough to process for remaining time.
- At end of ten minutes, add the butter and use Knead function for another minute until dough forms a ball and comes away from the TMX bowl easily.
- Transfer dough to a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise at room temperature (21C is ideal, according to Emmanuel) for up to an hour. The dough is ready once it has doubled in size.
- Pre-heat oven to 200C (180C if fan-forced) and grease Baba moulds. If you do not have Baba moulds (like me!), try a couple of individual panna cotta moulds. At a pinch, you can use a muffin pan or friand pan. They won't be the classic Baba shape but still delicious!
- Spoon dough into each mould to ¾ height and allow to rise for 10 minutes until dough meets the top of mould.
- Reduce oven to 180/160C and bake the Babas for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. They will smell amazing!
- Remove Babas from mould and allow to cool on a wire rack. Allow to dry out overnight, uncovered then transfer to a sealed container until ready to soak in syrup.
- When ready to prepare Rum Babas, place all syrup ingredients into clean TMX bowl and cook on 100C for 10 minutes.
- Place Babas on a wire rack, positioning a large tray/plate underneath. Using a strainer, trickle the syrup over the Babas. Return the excess syrup from tray/plate to TMX bowl, and start process again until majority of syrup has been soaked into the Babas.
- Rum Babas are ready to be served once cooled to room temperature (after 15 minutes). If not ready, transfer Babas back to a sealed container and cover until ready to serve. I don't recommend refrigerating but if you must, remove from fridge at least an hour before serving.
- Glaze Babas with heated apricot jam syrup and serve with fresh cream and fresh fruit.