Monday, September 14, 2009

You Can't Beat a Babka!

I remember one episode of Seinfeld, called the Dinner Party, where Elaine will do basically anything to get her hands on a Babka. Ever since I saw that episode, I HAD to make one (we're talking YEARS here, people). But I was too scared to try to make it. Eastern European baked goods typically equate to me purchasing larger jean sizes. Until now. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too.

So, this past weekend in preparation for the Jewish High Holidays, I wanted to channel my inner Jewish baker and decided to make a Babka. If it turned out good, hey, I could make a Babka for Break Fast on Yom Kippur.

So by now, if you don't know what a Babka is, you're probably wondering...What the heck is this freaking Babka? The Babka (I can't tell you how much I love saying the word "Babka," by the way), originates from Eastern Europe, and in Polish, means "Grandmother." Which couldn't be more fitting for my blog, really. Anyways, the Babka's I am used to are the ones made in a 9-10" bundt pan (or tube pan), and often have chocolate in them.

Well, lucky me, I have one of those bundt pans (I am so happy to finally use it) and also received this great cookbook as a shower gift from one of my mother's friends: Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook. There are so many babka recipes! I decided to merge a few together and make my own. I figured, if I am going to try to bake something new, I may as well create something all on my own, and if it is a fail, at least I went down kicking and screaming. So, here's my recipe that I adapted from Lil's recipe in the Hadassah cookbook. Note though, this is a 2 day process, so don't try to make this after dinner guys! Enjoy!
Mix the package of dry yeast, 1/4 c water, and 2 tsp of sugar and let yeast dissolve. In a bowl, sift flour. Add salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar and mix. I love my KA mixer, so I used this...It is a time saver. Make sure to use the dough hook.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, add the 3 egg yolks, and the stick of light butter. Now, when I make this next time, I will substitute at least half the butter for applesauce to add some more nutrition, this time, I wanted to just test out my idea. The dough is somewhat ready (in my opinion), when it forms a ball around the hook.

Place in a zip-lock bag, adding more flour if you need to so that the dough forms a ball, and fridge it over night.

Next day:
Yaaaaawn. Up and at em.

Take the dough out, and cut it into half. Roll each ball of dough into oblong shapes- roughly 12-14" by 8-10" I am no where near exact, I just eye balled it.

So, now for the sweet loving goodness in the middle:
Here's how you make it:
Take the 3 egg whites and use your hand mixer or KA stand mixer (again, love it in times like these), and beat the egg whites until stiff, but not totally dry. This means white peaks form when you remove the whisk. Then, add a cup sugar, slowly.

Layer this meringue like mixture on both pieces of oblong dough that you rolled out.
Next, in a bowl, mix the chopped nuts, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Sprinkle this bit of love on top of the egg white mixture.

Now, roll one of those bad boys up like a jelly roll, starting from the short side. Grease your bundt pan. Place one jelly roll on one half of the bundt pan. Repeat, and place the second jelly roll looking thing on the other side. Make an egg wash with a tiny bit of egg and a little water and tiny bit of melted butter. Spread it on top of the cake.
Now, the piece de resistance: The crumb topping
Using a fork, mix this stuff up good and crumbly. Sprinkly on top of cake.

NOW....Cover your masterpiece with a clean towel and store in a warm place for 2 hours.

Moving on...

Take the masterpiece, throw it in a preheated 350 degree oven and let cook for 50 minutes.

Your dwelling will smell unreal. Like a Jewish bakery. I kid you not. And it serves around 16-20 people (small slices, that's all you need this cake is FILLING).

Here are the approximate facts for serving up to 20 people:

Nutrition Facts

Recipe Serves 20 people

Amount per Serving
  • Calories 130Calories from Fat 46
% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 5.37g8%
  • Saturated Fat 2.42g12%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 1.34g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.78g
  • Cholesterol 41.25mg14%
  • Sodium 69.93mg3%
  • Potassium 22.5mg1%
  • Total Carbohydrate 16.93g6%
  • Dietary Fiber 0.98g4%
  • Sugars 5.55g

  • Protein 3.29g7%

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