Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cooking at home: Rum baba

Rum baba is sort of like a hybrid between a brioche and muffin. It's a small yeast cake soaked in rum syrup hence the name. It can be served either hot or at room temperature, and either with dried or fresh fruits, creme anglaise or chantilly, or in my opinion, it's just as good on its own. And my favorite part is that, it can be baked in advance. Prepare it a day ahead and just set aside. Soak it in warm syrup before it's served and it's almost as if it went straight out from the oven to the table.

For the cake:

Ingredients (yield 12 muffin-size cakes)
1.5 cups of strong (bread) flour
0.5 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon of dry yeast
3 eggs, beaten
0.5 cups of milk
0.5 cups of butter, softened and more to grease the pan
0.5 cups of sugar
pinch of salt

1. Warm the milk slightly (do not boil). Pour into a bowl and mix in with the yeast. Set for 15 minutes until mixture turned bubbly.
2. Put flours and sugar into another bowl. Pour the milk/yeast mixture and beaten eggs into the bowl and start whipping (use your hands or kitchen processor) Beat until the mixture turned into a smooth but sticky dough. Add in the salt and butter, use your hand to knead the dough and make sure everything is evenly mixed. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or tea towel and set aside for 15 minutes (to let it rise).
3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the muffin pan. Knead the dough a little more, then spoon or pipe the dough into the muffin tins to half its height. Let the dough sit in the muffin tin for 15 more minutes. The dough should rise a little more but shouldn't rise above the top.
4. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean when stick into the cake.
5. Bring the cake out of the oven and of the muffin pan, and let cool in a rack.

The cake can be served immediately (after soaking in the rum syrup) or set aside for later. It should keep in room temperature for up to 2 days, and in refrigerator for a week.

For the syrup:

4 tablespoon of dark rum (or more to taste)
2 cup of sugar
2 cup of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. Put water and sugar together in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, stir until all sugar dissolves into the mixture.
2. Keep in low heat until the mixture was reduced to syrup. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla extract and dark rum.

Syrup can also be prepared in advance and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. Bring it back to room temperature or heat it up before serving.In case that's not enough, make more with equal part of sugar and water.

To finish - Dip the rum baba cake into a pan of hot or warm syrup until it's completely soaked. Take it out, put on a plate, and pipe or pour the cream on top. Finish with other garnishes of your choice.

In the picture above, I plated it with blackberries, caramelized bananas, candied yuzu peels and toasted coconut chips and it's served warm. 

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