April 1, 2013 by Joanne T Ferguson
I have had THE STRANGEST day!
I woke up this morning with my eyes closed, with THE BIGGEST smile on my face and, um, “sniffing!”
I imagined (and I have a GREAT food imagination) I was viewing (with my eyes still closed), the fresh Babka (or Bobka aka baba; a sweet yeast cake) coming out of the oven at one of my favorite New York Jewish bakeries!
Can you smell it too?
I’m no expert here, but I “sense” my New York “connection” (other than being New York born and bred) is my recent food adventures with LU ROU FAN Vendor Bian Dang Recipe – New York a la Cart Book Review.
But WHY Babka?
Upon rising and now with eyes opened I was YEARNING some Babka! “Babka! Babka! Babka!”
Here is my “slightly” adapted Joanna’s Dark Chocolate Apricot plum Amazins Babka Bites.
It was THEN I “realized” (mind you, I am awake now) that my name was indeed Joanna (love that name), not Joanne (not a bad name too!) and my parent’s had misnamed me!
I DID mention it was a “strange” day!
So with Babka on my mind, off I went to the kitchen “as Joanna” the STILL “PASSIONATE and ENTHUSIASTIC” person I know; a “one-of-a-kind”
Julia Child then popped into my mind (we chat often when I am not “listening” to MARCO, MARCO, MARCO’s voice inside my head too; like in Aussie Aussie Aussie Malteser Lamingstons) and she reminded me that National Rename Yourself Day was coming up on the 9th of April and perhaps my mind was playing an April Fool’s trick a bit earlier than the “actual” National Day.
By the way, it IS a real National holiday and you KNOW by now HOW excited
I get with food holidays!
Before Julia left, (as she is still a very busy lady) she told me about a dinner party where the recipe “didn’t quite go according to plan“; so the next best thing to do is rename it! She “suggested” this was good advice if this ever happened to me!
I “wondered” if this was an omen for what was about to happen, but then dismissed it as “silly”
Ingredients for Dough
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1/4 cup (50 grams) plus a pinch of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast
1 egg, brought to room temperature
2 cups (250 grams) 00 bread flour (sifted), plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for bowl
Ingredients for the Filling
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons (45 grams) sugar
3/4 cup (6 ounces) dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried apricots, finely diced
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
In a saucepan on the stove, heat milk and pinch of salt to 120F. (~48C)
If you don’t have a thermometer, milk should be “warm” to the touch.
Sprinkle yeast over milk; let set for 5 minutes.
When making yeast mixtures, I have always “stirred” the yeast in and “waited” for it to foam; leaving it in a warm place.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and remaining 1/4 cup sugar, then slowly whisk in yeast mixture.
In a stand mixer, combine flour and salt.
With mixer on low, add egg mixture until combined.
Add butter; mix until combined.
Switch mixing paddles to a dough hook and let it knead the dough for 10 minutes.
Per the “original” recipe:
“it should be sticky and stringy and probably worrisome, but will firm up a bit after it rises.”
This was GREAT advise as I was “worried” at this point I had done something wrong.
Butter a large bowl and place dough in it; cover with cling wrap or a towel; I used cling wrap)
Let rise for an hour or until double in size.
While waiting, prepare the filling.
In a food processor, add dark chocolate chips, salt and sugar; pulse until chocolate is finely chopped; almost powder-like; add in dried apricots and plum Amazins until finely chopped; set aside.
I used patty pans to line my muffin tin; was heaps easier re cleaning.
Once dough is ready, turn it out onto a “well floured” surface; gently “deflating” it with your hands; let rest for 5 minutes.
Once rested, roll into a large rectangle.
The longer you make it, the more dramatic the swirl will be.
Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough’s surface.
Hint and Tip
The filling WILL be “hard and clumpy to try and spread“; just do your best and be careful not to push “too hard” as the filling will go through the very soft dough.
Tightly roll the dough back over the filling; forming a log.
I did not have any filling on the ends, so I used a serrated knife and cut the ends of the pastry.
With a sharp serrated knife, gently saw 1-inch segments off the log; cover with a towel; let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180C. (350F) Bake for 20 minutes; until “puffed and brown”
FOLLOW UP NOTE
WHY did I use 00 bread flour instead of “all-purpose” flour like the “original recipe called for?
I don’t know!
I thought I was running low on all-purpose flour and wouldn’t have enough. I didn’t “think” it would make a difference.
I was waiting for my “cupcake-like” babka to “puff” and while it did “slightly”, it did not “puff” to the height I thought it would.
I think the “coldness” of the weather today did not allow for the yeast to activate and become “as foamy” as it normally would; perhaps I was a “tad” impatient.
It was only after the “I have to taste these right out of the oven” that I determined these Joanna’s Dark Chocolate Apricot plum Amazins Babka Bites are GREAT!
The “taste” took my right back to New York and that Jewish bakery; am starting to salivate again now too!
While they did not “look” the nicest coming out of the oven in the patty pans, might I “suggest” (as Joanna lol) you close your eyes and “transport” your heart and mind with me!
As these Joanna’s Dark Chocolate Apricot plum Amazins Babka Bites (seeing they did not come out “exactly” as planned) have been renamed today by me!
Have you ever made Babka before?
Are YOU now CRAVING Chocolate Babka too?
Have I now “inspired” you to try making these Joanna’s Dark Chocolate Apricot plum Amazins Babka Bites too?
They are GREAT with coffee and or a chat over tea!
I have some VERY fond Babka childhood food memories (like in If I Knew You Were Coming) and thank you for reliving them through this post and through the “real” Joanna in ME!
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