Rum babas are a bit of a labour of love but so worth it. A common supermarket dessert of the 80’s they have disappeared seemingly without trace these days so I had to start making them. This Phil Vickery recipe is no longer available online but it has given me failsafe babas for 6 or more years now and the splashed and stained print out is getting harder to read so I thought I’d better immortalise the recipe now.
Essentially rum babas are a sweetened bread dough bathed in a rum syrup until swollen and heavy. You can top them with plain or sweetened cream and I opted for juicy Kentish cherries over glace ones. I make the recipe below and freeze most of them before their rum bath then defrost them when required and make up the rum syrup and soak overnight ahead of the meal.
For the dough:
2 x7g sachets dried quick acting yeast
125g ‘00’ flour
125g plain flour
3 tsp caster sugar
4 medium eggs, room temp, very important
50mls warm milk
75g melted butter
For the rum syrup (enough for 4-6 babas):
50g dark rum
Place the yeast, flours, salt, sugar, eggs, milk and really beat well in a machine until very soft and gloopy (5-10 minutes)
Finally beat in the warm butter until very gloopy and soft.
Cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes until double in size. At this point pre heat the oven to 190°C, gas 5.
Beat the proved mixture really well, then pipe or spoon into 8-10 well buttered dariole moulds or a muffin tin. Cover with cling film until risen by double the volume in a warm place.
Remove the cling film and bake in a pre heated oven, for 15 minutes or so.
When lightly browned remove from the tins and place on a baking rack on a tray continue to bake for 10 minutes until dry and well browned and coloured.
The babas must be nice and dry and well coloured. Leave to cool. Then prick with a needle.
Make the syrup and simmer for 30 seconds, one at a tine place the babas into the warm syrup and soak thoroughly, flip over and lift out when very heavy and well soaked.
Place the soaked babas in a casserole dish with the remaining syrup and baste occasionally. Store in the fridge for up to three days.
Serve with extra thick or whipped cream, sweetened with vanilla and icing sugar.