Babka has always been the domain of bubbies and Jewish bakeries. That's all changing thanks to a new generation of hip home bakers discovering it. The recipe has been somewhat tweaked but the end result is the same. Chewy buttery sweet slices that always satisfy,
Melissa Clark wrote about it in yesterday's New York Times A Good Appetite column along with a scrumptious recipe. Babkas are experiencing a kind of renaissance right now. The trendy Sadelle's Bakery in Manhattan's Soho offers one studded with homemade chocolate cookies while competitor Breads Bakery stuffs theirs with Nutella. Other bakeries such as Bklyn Larder fills theirs with a rich ganache and Baz Bagel turns theirs into the ultimate comfort food - babka bread pudding. The cake becomes even more decadent in the Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolonghi and Sami Tamimi.It's renamed the chocolate krantz cake and is loaded with pecans. This has spawned a variety of variations. such as one filled with chocolate and raspberry jam and another soaked in honey syrup. New York's Lower East Side Russ & Daughters, originally a fish and savory shop, uses and bakes the original recipe . Theirs, according to fourth generation owner Joshua Ross Tupper advises babka is a nice balance of not too sweet cake and rich chocolate filling,It's also one the of the few traditional babkas sold and it's shipped all over the country. Ms. Clark is the rebel baker, using a rich chocolate butter cream filling in hers.
Home bakers be warned. Babka requires time and some expertise.It is working with yeast which can be tricky and time consuming. One can take all day or even longer (!) to make due to refrigerating the dough between steps. Doing this does make it easier to manipulate and a longer proofing period does give it a richer, more complex taste.It is easier to freeze than other breads so home chefs can make two loaves, one for now, the other for later. It is a rich buttery dough with a recipe requiring ten tablespoons of butter. and four large eggs.. The dough is transferred to buttered bowls which add to the flavor as it bounces in and out of the fridge/Ms Clark's frosting filling also has a stick of unsalted butter along with 3/4 of a cup of heavy cream.If this isn't enough , there is over the top cocoa streusel topping. This is more butter (but only four and a half tablespoons this time) blended with cocoa , sugar and flour, It creates giant , luscious crumbs mixed in with dark chocolate chips. Home bakers can top their babkas with brown sugar streusel on top. The same goes for the filling.any sweet goo,according to Ms. Clark is acceptable. Try, jam, dulce de leche, Nutella or hot fudge sauce.
Chocolate babka is making a big comeback. Make it to enjoy its' lush buttery chocolate flavor.It may be intense to make but a dream to eat.