January 4, 2011
I feel like this should be my grandmother’s recipe. But it isn’t. I found it in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison. A babka, from my understanding, is a cake made with a rich yeast dough, and filled with various things. In this case, almonds, cherries, etc.
I started with the dough. It is a simple yeasted sweet dough, with a bit of sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs. I mixed it with my mom’s Polish dough whisk, which is my new favorite kitchen tool. By far! The way that it incorporates the wet and dry ingredients is almost magical, and so much easier. I think it has to do with the way the wire is shaped. And the handle is lovely to hold, too. So well thought out!
I set the dough aside to rise, in a buttered bowl, covered with a tea towel. In a cold room, as I was going out for a little bit too long. I never seem to be able to match up my rising and baking times with when I can actually be home to let the dough rise, shape, bake, etc…
I made up the dough and filling, went out for a bit, and returned to a balloon of dough in my red bowl. It punched down nicely, and I shaped it into a large rectangle.
The filling is made up of finely chopped toasted almonds, chopped dried cherries, an egg, sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Oh, and butter!
I spread out the filling and sprinkled the cherries on top.
Then rolled the entire thing up into a log, and made a crescent.
And covered with a tea towel and set to rise again. This time more quickly, right above the fire.
And then into the oven. Bakety bake bake bake. I was tired, so I set the oven timer and went to bed, thinking that I would wake up when it dinged. I am not sure that I did… When I got up, it was still cooking, and ‘nicely browned’ on the top.
This years babka might be a little bit drier and crisper than last years, but still quite yummy. I need to have some coffee for it!