It feels like only yesterday that I introduced you to the Blog Monster and was sharing some of her lovely recipes. And my Mom’s coming back tomorrow and I can’t wait! I thought that the best way to welcome her was with a freshly baked babka which I took from the Australian Gourmet Traveller April Issue. This babka is made with chocolate and a hazelnut paste and is one of the best brioche recipes I have tried so far. This is the second time I’ve made it and, I like the dough so much, I am thinking of using it as a base for other sweet (and savoury) creations! I’m thinking along the lines of Lemon and Orange, or maybe even Chorizo and Caramelized Onions, or Ham and Cheese?! The choice is endless so stay tuned!
Recipe (makes 2 loaves)
180 ml lukewarm milk
14 gm (2 sachets) dry yeast
110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
485 gm (3¼ cup) plain flour, sifted
210 gm softened butter
100 gm hazelnuts
100 gm dark chocolate (I used Lindt Blocks, 70%), coarsely chopped
For brushing: eggwash
For scattering: demerara sugar
1. Combine milk, yeast and 1 tbsp sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle and set aside in a warm place until foamy (5-7 minutes). Add 75gm flour, mix to combine, then add eggs, yolk, remaining sugar and a pinch of salt, mix to combine. While mixing on low speed, gradually add remaining flour until combined, then add 150gm butter, a little at a time, beating until dough is shiny and elastic (3-5 minutes; dough will be quite soft). Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size (1-1½ hours).
2. Preheat oven to 180C. Place hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast until golden (5-7 minutes), cool slightly, then rub with a tea towel to remove skins and cool completely. Process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form, combine with remaining softened butter to form a paste and set aside at room temperature until required.
3. Knock back dough and divide into two. Working with one half at a time, roll dough on a lightly floured surface into a 20cm x 32cm rectangle. With longest side facing you, spread over half the hazelnut paste, leaving a 4cm-border, then scatter over half the chocolate. Roll away from you to form a cylinder, brush ends with a little eggwash, then join ends to make a loop, twist into a figure of eight and place in a 9cm x 19cm loaf tin lined with baking paper. Set aside in a warm place until dough reaches the top of tin (1 hour). Repeat with remaining dough. Brush babkas with eggwash, scatter with demerara sugar and bake in centre of oven until golden and cooked through (35-40 minutes). Cool in tins for 10 minutes, then turn out, cool on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Babkas will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 3 days, and are best served warm or in toasted slices.
And before I let you go, like any proud mother who loves to share her children’s photos, here is one of the cutest pictures I took of my two dogs. One day I got out of the car and in went Baci, on the front seat, followed closely by Bizou, sitting right beside her. They absolutely refused to get out of the car (despite me bribing them with some treats!). I have a picture by my desk in the office and everyone who stops by comments on how cute they look (I know I know!).
I always ask them – “what do you think they’re thinking?”
The best one so far has been:
Bizou (dog on the passengers seat): “Hurry up, let’s make a get away while she’s not looking”
Baci (dog on the driver’s seat) “How do you start this damn thing!?!?”
What do you think they’re thinking?
Happy Easter Everyone!