12 dariole or ring moulds
(contents 100 ml)
or large turban/savarin mould, contents 1½ l,
all heavily greased with butter
- 250 g plain flour
- 6 g easy-blend/easy-bake dried yeast
- 10 g caster sugar
- 125 ml luke warm milk
- 50 g soft butter
- 2 g salt
- 2 eggs (L)
Syrup + apricot topping:
- 150 g caster sugar
- 250 ml water
- 125 ml rum
- 450 g apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons rum
Some images are stamped indelibly on you memory. We made a cycling trip to Paris, climbed a heavy ascending slope and then there was this baker’s shop in that small village. Baba au Rhum was his special offer. Never seen nor tasted. Before our eyes the cakes were drenched with rum syrup and topped with apricot jam.
At the cradle of this pastry stood, according to reports, the Polish king Stanislaus Lezczyński. After a reign of not more than five years he was dispelled and went to France with the whole of his court. Luck would have it that Louis XV (15) married Marie (22), daughter of Stanislaus. Of course father in law visited the young couple regularly in Paris, where he achieved fame as a gastronome. There he would have sprinkled a dry yeast cake from Lvov (Lemberg, his birthplace, now Ukraine) with rum, very popular just after the French had settled in Jamaica. Baba means ‘mummy’ and indicates a cylinder-shaped small yeast cake that reminds of the well known Russian dolls.
- Mix flour with yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Knead for a minute with milk and butter, add salt. Knead a pliable dough (10 minutes by hand or 4 minutes in the food mixer using the dough hook on the lowest possible speed).
- Break the eggs onto the dough. Mix by hand loosely through the dough. Then using the dough hooks of a hand mixer work the eggs into the dough until it climbs into the hooks and comes loose from the bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise at roomtemperature for 45 minutes.
- Put the batter manouvering with two spoons into the large form. For the dariole moulds use not more than two dessert spoons of batter. Leave to rise uncovered at a draught-free place until the batter has reached the rim of the forms.
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas 6. With a baking tray on the middle shelf if making the small ones.
- Bake the small baba’s on the preheated baking tray for 15-20 minutes. The big one takes 30-35 minutes. Leave in the form for a minute then unmould onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.
- For the syrup bring sugar and water to the boil and reduce in about 8 minutes to 200 ml. Leave to cool, then add 125 ml rum.
- With a thin pin prick little holes in the pastry, drench with the syrup until all is absorbed. Then spread with sieved lukewarm apricot jam, mixed with two tablespoons rum.