We love it when we receive treasured recipes from our customers. This week lovely Bianca from foodie blog Nourished by You, sent us in her recipe for a Choc and Pistachio Babka. Her story with finding her recipe and all the details for how to make it follows ....
I‘ve come across this dessert multiple times on social media lately. It literally felt like it was 'Babka Season' all of a sudden, as every foodie seemed to be making a version of their own. As a result of being SUPER intrigued and mesmerised by this sweet breads’ glistening visage and pillowy, Brioche-like inside, I felt compelled, almost like a ‘calling’, to make it.
I did some research and discovered that, traditionally, this Jewish sweet bread takes nearly 2 days to make, however, I don't have that kind of time, nor, I'm sure, you don't either! I came across a recipe by Ninik Becker on Youtube and was immediately inspired by its effortlessness. I added my own spin to the recipe by adding the zest of 1 whole orange and filling the dough with generous amounts of Pana's hazelnut chocolate spread, crushed pistachiosand choc chips.
I know it involves a bit of work, but guys, trust me, it pays off when you take that first bite of Babka as soon as it comes out of the oven. Better yet, diving into its chocolate-y core is like PURE ECSTASY! Do yourself a favour and try BABKA today!
See myInstagram highlights for a full step-by-step tutorial!
If you make this recipe I would love to see your creation! Take a snap and tag me@nourishedby_youon Instagram.
Time:25 minutes to prepare +4.5-5.5 hours to proof + 40-45 minutes to cook
5 tbsp white caster sugar
7g (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
125ml (1/2 cup) warm milk (~30°C in temp)
2 whole eggs
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
Zest of 1 orange
375g all-purpose flour
1 tsp non-iodised sea salt
100g soft unsalted butter
1 x 200g jar of (Pana Chocolate Hazelnut Spread)*
1/4 cup of chocolate chips (I usedPBCo’s 99% Sugar Free Chocolate Chips)
Simple Sugar Syrup
2 tbsp of water
2 tbsp of white caster sugar
*PLEASE READ NOTES BELOW THE RECIPE BEFORE ATTEMPTING*
Make the dough
Combine the sugar, yeast and warm milk in the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer. Let the yeast 'bloom 'for a few minutes to ensure it's active.
To the bowl, add eggs, vanilla bean paste, zest, flour and salt and begin mixing with a dough hookuntil it comes together; starting off on low speed and then gradually speeding it up to medium speed. Mix for about 3 minutes.
After that time, add the the butter and incorporate it into the dough on low speed. Increase to medium speed and mix for 5-8 minutes or until the dough is completely smooth; you’ll need to scrape the bowl down a few times.
Transfer the dough to a clean work surface (NOTE: it may be slightly sticky). Incorporate extra flour (a light dusting at every increment) by kneading it gently into the dough until it's smooth and stops sticking to the work surface.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a 'lightly oiled' bowl (I just use the stand mixer bowl). Cover with cling film and place in a warm area to proof for about 90 minutes.
Rolling/Filling the dough:
Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface*. Using a rolling pin (flour the rolling pin to prevent the dough from sticking), roll the dough out to a rectangle measuring ~43 x 29 cm.
Using apastry spatula, spread chocolate spread evenly across the dough, leaving a ~1 cm border. Sprinkle over some crushed pistachios (reserving some for later), and chocolate chips.
Starting at one short side, roll into a tight coil. Working fast, slice the dough coil in half lengthwise to expose the filling (use a sharp knife or metal bench scraper). Tidy up each piece and then place one half over the other on a slight diagonal. Braid the bottom end first, pinching the end tightly to seal and then repeat with the top end.
Transfer the braided dough (I find it easier to use a bench scraper to transfer the dough) swiftly to a well buttered loaf tin (26 x 10 cm) that is also lined with baking paper (ensure there is excess baking paper over-hanging the loaf tin as this will ensure easier removal of the Babka once cooked). Sprinkle over extra crushed pistachios and then cover with cling film. Place in a warm place to increase in size for about ~3-4 hours*
Place water and sugar in a small pot and cook on low heat until the sugar has fully dissolved. Take off the heat and let it completely cool before glazing the Babka.
Baking the Babka
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C*. Pop the babka into the oven and let it cook for about 40-45 minutes. If you are concerned about the top browning too quickly, after 30 minutes of cooking, cover it with foil, and then bake for the remaining time*
As soon as the babka is out of the oven, pierce the top with a skewer multiple times and then brush over all the syrup.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Serving Suggestions: babka is best served warm or on the day of making. Babka tends to dry out quite quickly, so it's best eaten within 24 hours of making it.
Storage Suggestions: Do not refrigerate the Babka otherwise it will dry out. Babka is suitable for freezing.
Chocolate spread:make sure to mix the spread thoroughly before using as the Pana Chocolate spread does not contain EMULSIFIERS. This causes the oil to separate and sit on top of the spread.
Flouring Surfaces: Make sure that you have extra plain flour for dusting, as the last thing you want is your dough sticking to your work surface. This is especially important when rolling out the dough in a rectangle and subsequently rolling it up into a coil. If the dough sticks to the work surface, you will struggle to roll the dough, causing you lots of HEARTACHE!
Creating a Warm Place: I like to create a mini warm environment for my Babka to rise by placing the baking tin (babka inside) near a boiled kettle (making sure the kettle isn't touching the tin), and then covering the kettle and tin with a tea towel.
Oven temperature: to ensure the oven has hit the right temp before baking I would recommend using an oven thermometer.
Checking the 'doneness' of the Babka:stick a skewer into the thickest part of the cake and if it comes out clean, it is ready. If you notice some 'sticky, slightly raw' dough attached to the skewer, cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Another note, every oven is different so please note that the recommended time for cooking may vary from person to person.
Preventing burning the Babka: just note that the chocolate spread cooks faster than the dough so this in turn may cause the top to burn. Cover with foil (leaving a bit of room between the foil and the top of the babka so it doesn’t stick) and continue to cook.
Thank you so much Bianca - we can't wait to try it!