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.
After the disaster that befell the UK on Friday, there was nothing else to do but bake. I had been meaning to try out this Dan Lepard recipe for toasted almond madeira cake for a while and the end of last week seemed like the right time to give what seemed a very comforting and wintery cake a try.
If I’m honest I thought it would be a bit moister and denser than it was so may try it with ground almonds instead of toasted flaked ones next time. It was still delicious with a cup of tea on a rainy summers afternoon. Dan said the method of mixing in half of the flour before adding the eggs results in a finer crumb texture and it definitely does make a difference.
I have a new oven… That cooks things…..in the time it’s supposed to! So to celebrate and test out said new oven I thought I’d christen it with a classic Victoria sponge sandwich. I can report it had a nice even bake and no noticeable hot spots. For the last few weeks I have been redecorating and sprucing up my tiny kitchen so will have to wait a while before I put the oven to more testing. In more exciting news, I’m thrilled to have been shortlisted in this years Pink Lady Food Photography Awards. Now I have a tense wait to find out if I make it to the final again. Fingers crossed!
Posting has become sporadic way before I thought it might and despite my best laid plans to stock pile some new entries ahead of my impending move it’s all gone awry. I don’t move well and am even less of a fan of packing/unpacking.
This last weekend I could have got a gold medal for procrastination as I just can’t face dealing with finding somewhere else to live and unearthing long forgotten relics that have been in boxes in the loft since my uni days isn’t helping.
I also decided to make a fairly long winded cinnamon bun recipe this week but even if you are not trying to put something off these cinnamon buns are worth the effort!
Regular followers will know bread is not my baking strong point. I decided to give a milk loaf a go as I have consistently failed at spelt sourdough and I’m also desperately trying to shed some pounds before my friends wedding at the end of May so trying to avoid sweet baked goodies. It’s also not a very labour intensive recipe which means less time standing in the kitchen while I try to get my back sorted.
I found this plaited spelt milk loaf recipe on the Doves Farm website and the reviews were favourable so thought it was worth giving a try. All I can say is it’s the easiest and best looking loaf ever to come out of my oven so I will definitely be baking this one again. Anyone daunted or frustrated by bread making should give this a go…. you might just give Paul Hollywood a run for his money with this one!
*I didn’t have enough white spelt flour so ended up using a mix of roughly 300g white and 200g whole grain spelt flour.
I have a confession, I make ugly bread. It tastes good and I have been making spelt bread on and off for a few years now but have struggled to produce a nice looking loaf in a loaf tin. It was never going to win a prize, unless the prize was least attractive loaf so I recently took the plunge and bought a bannetone (proving basket) in an attempt to make more professional looking loaves. I picked mine up on eBay for around £10. Bannetones are made from cane or wicker and allow air to circulate around the dough to form a skin which keeps the structure of a loaf when its turned out before baking.