Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rosie Makes Babas Au Rhum.

A friend of mine, Dentalicious, is having a birthday!

What to make?
What to make?

 A light bulb came on over my head!
(That's not my picture.)

One can never go wrong with Julia.

I'm leafing through Julia's Baking With Julia,
trying to get ideas, and came up with Babas Au Rhum.
Haven't done babas in a while.

According to Julia,
the classic baba looks like a miniature chef's toque.
I don't have baba molds
and I could have used muffin tins,
but I went with miniature bundt pans.
I have four different shapes of decorative bundt pans.

Adapted from JC.

For the Baba Dough:
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 package yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 cup flour
2 TB unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

Pour warm water into a bowl and sprinkle over the yeast and sugar.  Allow to proof. Add the egg and stir to mix. In a mixer with a paddle attachment add the egg mixture and flour. Mix on low speed for two minutes until ingredients are blended. Scrape down sides.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat 8 minutes. Add butter and beat on low until butter is absorbed, about three minutes. 
First Rise:
Remove bowl from mixer and cover with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in a warm place for 15-20 minutes.  Don't expect doubling.  You want a noticeable increase in volume and a lightness.

The Fruit:
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried chopped dates
1/2 cup rum

While the dough is rising, put raisins and dates in a small bowl and cover with rum.

Brush molds with melted unsalted butter.  8 small molds.

Shaping and Second Rise:
When the dough has risen, drain the raisins and dates, reserving the rum, and stir them into the dough.  Fill 8 small molds with the batter/dough to the halfway point.   Let rise in a warm place until the molds are filled, about an hour.

Baking the Babas:
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat to 350°.
Bake babas for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden and have shrunk slightly from the sides of the molds.  Unmold onto a rack and cool before soaking and filling.

The Syrup:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar

Put the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Boil for 30 seconds and turn off the heat.
Line a jelly-roll pan with waxed paper and set a rack on top.  Drop the babas, one or two at a time, into the syrup and let them soak, turning once, for a minute or so.  Using a slotted spoon, lift the babas out of the syrup and onto the cooling rack.  The pastry is a lovely texture.  Light and airy with beautiful holes.  Take the rest of the sugar syrup and reserved rum and pour directly into the holes.  Let cool before filling with pastry cream.

Yes, pastry cream.
Pastry Cream: 
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB cornstarch
1 TB unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to a nice froth

Pour milk and cream into medium saucepan and scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the pan.  Toss in the pod and bring it all to a boil.
While the milk is heating, beat the yolks and sugar together until well blended.  Add cornstarch and continue to beat until thoroughly incorporated.  As soon as the cream and milk comes to a boil, pour about half of it into the yolks, drizzling at snail speed, and whisking wildly.  Then, still whisking wildly, pour yolk mixture into saucepan and cook over low heat until the pastry cream thickens.  Be en garde.  Be en garde.  Don't let it curdle.  Whisk!Whisk!Whisk!
Remove from heat, retrieve the vanilla bean pod, and whisk in the butter.  

Scrape pastry cream into a small bowl, press plastic wrap against the surface, and chill.

When ready to serve,
pipe chilled pastry cream onto room-temperature babas.

Yeast mixture.
Stir to dissolve.

Let the yeast proof.
Good yeast!

Mix all together and get this lovely batter/dough.

This is good.

Macerate the raisins and dates in rum.

Let the dough rise a little and lighten.

Drain the dried fruits and fold into the batter/dough.

I used a spoon to halfway fill the mini-bundt molds.
Let it rise.

Take a break.
Go eat some oysters!
Oysters Rancheras!
While Mr. Hawthorne was a shuckin' fool,
I topped his oysters.
Yes, we are a team.
It's melted unsalted butter over the oysters on the half shell.
Then I placed a tiny bit of Mr. Hawthorne's Salsa Ranchera on top,
gave it some grated cheese lovin'
(Today, I used a Harry and David White Cheddar 
Brother And S-I-L Hawthorne
gave me in a Christmas Basket.),
and topped it with some Chipotle Panko.

Oh Golly, I love oysters!

Oh yeah.
Back to the Babas.

In the molds, rising nicely.

Doncha think?

Bake and cool.

Pretty and decorative.
I love my little bundt molds!
Cool and soak in sugar syrup.

Pour the rest of the sugar syrup over the babas.

Let's tackle the Pastry Cream, shall we?
Take this ...

... and add some of this.

Do some stuff...
... And end up with this.

Chill it.
I covered it with surface-touching plastic wrap
and put it in an ice bath.

When cool, spoon in reserved rum ...

... in the holes.

These smell so good - yeasty and rummy.

  These yeasty, rummy cakes are DEE-VINE!

 I assembled a platter of four Babas Au Rhum for Dentalicious.

 Cover a broken, cracked plastic plate with festive foil.

Pipe that Pastry Cream in the hole!

 Stick in the Candles.

 Happy Birthday, Dentalicious!

Love ya!

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