Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rosie Makes Babas Au Rhum With Rum Syrup And Fruit Preserves Glaze.

Thursday morning, October 15, 2009. I have the itch. You know the itch? The itch is what I get when I want to make something I've never prepared before. I'm talking virgin territory here. I want something different. I want a project. Something that looks amazing on paper. Something I want to take from paper and make it real. I want to feel it. I want to smell it. I want to taste it. I want something that excites me. Something that gives me a constructive purpose for the next few hours. Whenever I get the itch, I, more often than not, turn to the Grande Dame, Julia. Julia can always scratch my itch. I turned to two of my favorite cookbooks Julia Child & Company and Julia Child & More Company. See HERE. I found the scratch to my itch in More Company. To be explicit, I found my aloe-laced balm in Julia's recipe for Savarin aux Fruits Exotiques with whipped cream. And to be more expliciter, I left out the Fruits Exotiques since I don't normally have Fruits Exotiques hanging around in my kitchen and I nixed the whipped cream and I threw out the Savarin and I went for a variation on the theme- Babas au Rhum, or individual rum-soaked yeast cakes. Trust me on this. Ingredients for the babas: 1 package dry-active yeast 3 TB warm water 2 large eggs, which are warming up in the Pyrex cup in warm water 2 TB sugar pinch salt 4 TB warm melted butter 1 1/2 cups flour + more (Scoop and sweep to measure for the first 1 1/2 cups.) (For the + flour, just judiciously sprinkle enough to make the dough workable.)
I poured the yeast into the warm water and stirred to dissolve.
I added the warmed eggs to the yeast mixture. Everything is tepid.
Sugar and salt went in.
And the melted butter.
Then I added the 1 1/2 cups flour, gradually.
This is still a very loose dough, so I added a little more flour, just sprinkles at a time ...
... or until the dough got some body to it and I could gather it up and knead it. Not a real knead, like for bread, Just a slap/knead for this spongy exotica. Slap it down on your lightly floured surface, push out and press forward with the heal of your hand, pull the top back over, turn 90 degrees and fold over. Slap again, push and press, pull, turn, and continue the process about 12 slaps. Just 12 slaps. You don't work this dough. It's a sticky dough.
The dough should have enough elasticity so you can grab it with both hands, pull it out, and give it a full twist without breaking. Thusly. I gathered the dough in a ball, covered it with plastic wrap, and did my trick of heating a wet towel in the microwave, covering the bowl of dough with the hot, steamy towel, and letting the baba dough rise in the microwave.
About 2 hours later, my dough has doubled. Don't worry about time. Just be sure the dough has at least doubled.
Here are my pretty little molds. Butter the molds.
After the first doubling of the dough, pull and scrape the dough out of the bowl. Julia didn't mention buttering the bowl. Perhaps I should have buttered the bowl.
Form the dough into a rope 10-12 inches long.
Cut into 6 pieces and roll out into logs.
Wrap the logs around in the buttered molds and let rise again, until the dough has filled the molds- about 1 hour.
Here's my risen dough. And then some.
I baked these for about 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven. They're done when they are nicely browned and unmold easily. The last five minutes of baking, I covered the top with foil.
These smell delicious. Nice and yeasty. Makes the house smell homey.
Next, I fixed a rum syrup: 2 cups water 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup rum
I added the sugar to only 1 cup of the water.
Heat gently until sugar has completely dissolved.
Pour the rest of the water in (to cool it).
And add the rum.
Place the babas in a dish, pricking them all over.
Gradually dribble the rum syrup over the babas. Both the rum syrup and the babas must be warm for this step. A cold baba will not imbibe easily and a hot baba might disintegrate.
Turn the babas, prick, and pour some more syrup over.
Keep turning, pricking, and pouring, and letting the babas soak it all up. After about 1/2 an hour, the babas will have absorbed all the syrup. They'll be swollen and spongy.
Next I made a glaze for my babas. I used up all I had left of my apricot preserves, orange marmalade, and apricot pineapple preserves. I had some strawberry preserves (on the far right) I was going to put in, but when I opened it up, it actually had mold inside, so I skipped on that. I might have ended up with 1 cup of mixed preserves.
I added three tablespoons sugar to the preserves and heated, stirring until the sugar dissolved completely, then boiling and stirring until the preserves reached 228 degrees.
Keep stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Almost there.
I brushed the glaze all over the babas. The glaze should set or jell on the babas, and act as a waterproofing seal, thus encompassing and protecting and sealing the fabulosity of the rum syrup imbibification. I know I keep going on about the rum flavor, but it truly wasn't overpowering or even powerful. I don't want you to think that. The rumminess was a delicate undertone that curled beneath the yeast and cakiness and sponginess of the babas. It was sublime. Just a tease.
Here are my finished babas au rhum. Fast forward 24 hours after making these babas. Xmaskatie stopped by this afternoon and I gave her one baba. Yes, only one. She and Glowria would have to share. Hmmmm. I wonder if Xmaskatie is a Baba Whore and didn't even give Glowria part of her baba, or even let Glow know about the baba. I know for a fact that Glowria is a Zucchini Bread Whore because Xmaskatie sent me a Zuke Bread via Glow and it never got to its "destination point," meaning moi. Xmaskatie just called this evening at 8PM to describe the baba: "It was very light. Airy. It had the sponginess of an Angel Food Cake but had bigger sponge holes. It wasn't dense like an AFC. It was like a big, fat sponge." Ehhhhh... Thank you, Xmaskatie, I think.
Flaky, cakey, yeasty, spongy, slightly rummy, deliciositiness.
This is divine. Absolutely divine.
Here's what the babas look like in daylight.
Positively ambrosial.


Kathy said...

Okay, those look divine . . . except . . . I don't like rum. So, what other booziness could be used? I wonder how it would be with an orange liqueur or maybe even chocolate liqueur? Or maybe even orange juice?

I just wonder about these things.

Oh, and how much sugar is in the cakes? It's not listed in your ingredients, unless I'm blind.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Kathy, you're not blind.
Thanks for catching that.
2 TB sugar went into the babas.
I don't see why you couldn't use any liqueur you like. Or even use 2-3 tablespoons of vanilla extract.

Anonymous said...

I most certainly am not a baba whore, glo got her 1/2. Thanks for sharing one with us, they really were great.

Marilyn said...

Oh, what I wouldn't give to be one of your houseguests and be served one of these treats.