Baba au Rhum! This classic pastry features enriched yeasted cake doused with rum syrup. The babas are brushed with apricot glaze for a kick of fruit flavor and topped with whipped cream for a luscious finish.
If you want to make a sophisticated dessert, look no further. Baba au Rhum is a grown up dessert that’s not too sweet. Most of the work can be done well before your guests arrive.
Tips for making great Baba au Rhum:
- Start with enriched brioche dough. The sugar syrup combined with the bread-like baba makes a dessert that’s not cloyingly sweet.
- You can skip the rum raisins, but they do add a nice textural contrast and little bursts of sweetness. You can also use golden raisins, currants or dried cranberries instead of raisins.
- The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before adding the raisins and filling the pans. The rising time may be longer if you’re working with cold dough.
- I used non-stick popover pans to make the babas. You can use muffin pans or jumbo muffin pans. Whatever size pan you use, don’t fill them more than halfway.
- Don’t overfill the pans. You want the dough to at least double in volume so the babas are nice and airy when they’re baked. A lighter baba will absorb more syrup.
- You can adjust the amount of rum to taste, but the rum is integral to the flavor of the dessert.
- The babas are best the day they are baked.
- To work ahead you can freeze the babas as soon as they are cooled. Defrost and warm in the oven briefly before soaking in the syrup and serving.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Baba au Rhum:
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For the Dough:
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120 ml) whole milk, scalded and cooled to 110°F
- 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons, 7g) instant dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz, 28g) granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups (15 oz, 420g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz, 84g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup raisins or currants
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120 ml) dark rum
- 2 cups (16 oz, 480 ml) water
- 2 cups (16 oz, 448g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split
- 1 cup (12 oz, 336g) apricot preserves
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup (8 oz, 240 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine the milk with the yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached. Or use a large mixing bowl with use a hand mixer or wooden spoon.
- With the mixer running on low, add the eggs. Then add the flour and salt and mix until the flour is incorporated.
- With the mixer running, toss in the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time. Mix until the butter is incorporated. The texture will be a very thick batter or very loose dough. It will not come together like a bread dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, soak the raisins in the rum and generously butter 12 baba or popover molds. (If you're using a non-stick pan you don't need to butter.)
- When the dough is ready, drain the raisins and reserve the rum. Stir the raisins into the dough until they are evenly distributed. Divide the dough evenly among the prepared molds, filling each no more than 1/2 way. Cover the tray and set it aside until the dough fills the molds, about 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Slide the trays into the oven and bake until the babas are well browned, about 20 minutes. Start checking the babas at 15 minutes. The total baking time will vary based on the type of pan used. Remove the tray from the oven. Turn the babas out of the pans onto a wire rack.
- While the babas bake and cool, make the rum syrup. Combine the water with the sugar in a medium sauce pan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and stir them into the syrup. Toss in the vanilla pod. Bring the mixture up to a boil then turn off the heat. Add enough new rum to the reserved rum to bring it back up to a 1/2 cup. Add the rum to the syrup.
- Place as many babas as will fit into the pot of syrup. Leave them in the syrup for 10 minutes, flipping them around after 5 minutes to soak the other side. Lift the babas out of the syrup and set them onto a wire rack set over a clean sheet pan to drain. Continue with the remaining babas. Reserve any left over syrup for plating.
- Warm the apricot preserves and strain to remove the chunks of fruit. Brush the tops and sides of each baba with the preserves. Let the babas cool completely before plating and serving.
- To serve. Whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Place a baba on it's side on a dessert plate. Split it lengthwise and open it like a book. Drizzle the middle of the baba with left over syrup to taste. Pipe or scoop a generous dollop of whipped cream into the center.
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