BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Who’s Your Baba?

22 Comments

Winter survival depends on preparedness; Plenty of moisturizer for dry skin, an ample supply of dry beans and other long-lasting pantry staples, and as many types of citrus as you can cram in the fruit bin. When the snow is falling in thick white sheets with no end in sight, the bright, cheerful flavors of winter citrus are the only things that can rescue my dampened mood. For days short on sunshine, vibrant yellow lemons are the next best thing. Their energizing zest makes its way into salads and desserts alike, while whole oranges and clementines are a favorite midday snack. Grapefruit juice kicks off the morning on a high note, and let’s not forget about those sour little limes.

For whatever reason, limes find their way into fewer of my recipes and daily eats than any other citrus, so it seemed only fair to reverse that trend. Perfect for our recent bout of snow, which is still sticking to the ground and discouraging me from driving out into the suburban wilderness, a yeasted, lime-enhanced cake was just what the doctor ordered. Warming the kitchen as they baked and lifting the spirits once eaten, the winter blues don’t stand a chance with these zesty pastries on hand.

Lime Baba Au Rhum

Baba Dough:

1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Package Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Whole Flax Seeds, Ground
3/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
2 Teaspoons Lime Zest
5 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine, Melted
1/2 Cup Toasted and Chopped Walnuts

Rum Syrup:

1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Dark Rum
1/2 Cup Water

Apricot Glaze:

1/2 Cup Apricot Preserves
1 Tablespoon Water

Rather than the typical proofing approach for making bread, these babas are assembled more like a cake. First, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and ground flax seeds in the bowl of your stand mixer (if using; otherwise a large bowl will do.) Once the dry goods are thoroughly combined, turn your attention to the liquids. Heat the water and non-dairy milk to about 120 – 130 degrees, but not to a boil, or else you’ll kill the yeast. This should feel hot to the touch but not burn your fingers.

Pour the liquid into the large bowl, and start mixing on low speed. Immediately follow that addition with the lime juice, zest, melted margarine, and walnuts. Continue mixing until the dough begins to come together, and then switch to the dough hook on your stand mixer. The dough will be very soft and sticky, so keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t creep up on top of the hook or get stuck to the sides of the bowl. Use your spatula to guide it back as needed, and continue beating for about 5 minutes to develop the gluten. Once fairly smooth, leave the dough in the bowl and cover the whole thing with a piece of plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until nearly doubled in size.

Lightly grease 6 popover tins or 10 – 12 standard muffin cups; set aside.

Gently punch down your risen yeast batter, and divide it equally between your greased tins. Let rise once more for about 30 minutes, or until the dough has expanded to fill the tins. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once risen, bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown all over. Turn out the yeasted cakes onto wire racks and let cool.

Prepare the rum syrup by simply combining the sugar, rum, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, and you’re ready to go.

Prick the babas all around the sides with a fork before dipping each in the syrup, to allow for better absorption. Dip each two or three times, and then return them to the cooling rack to rest, or serve immediately.

To serve, microwave the apricot jam and water together for just 30 – 60 seconds, to loosen up the jam and warm it through. Stir well, and apply liberally to the tops of your babas. Feel free to serve with an additional spoonful of the rum syrup over the top, too.

Makes 6 – 12 Babas

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

22 thoughts on “Who’s Your Baba?

  1. Oh boy ! I have been thinking about making babas too for quite a while now and as I am writing this I realize I have no real excuse anymore because we bought a new bottle of rum a month ago or so.
    Maybe I need pans though … anyway.

    What a great idea to add some citrus in the original recipe ! It surely gave it some peps that we all need when winter is here (as you said).
    I did not know that you kep the French expression “Baba au Rhum” ! :)

  2. Ooh I’ve always wondered what a baba au rhum was! Finally I see!

    These are absolutely gorgeous, especially with that lime twist. I have recently started using more limes in cooking (and in cocktails, haha) – I find they are great squeezed into spicy soups!

  3. I wish we were having more of a wet winter but we’ve only had 2 days of rain. Better some rain than none….the mountains will finally begin to turn green now…yay!
    Hannah we have an older couple that are our friends that come up our way a couple of times of year to stay with us and the wife is always amazed at the baked goods I make without using eggs and butter. I got to tell you, this baba au rhum would make her flip(if she flips that would totally impress me..ha!) and totally impress her. Beautiful !

  4. Your baba looks absolutely delicious! LIme and rum go well together:)

  5. that looks very yummy. lime isn’t used much and i often wonder why???

    i don’t have the pans either – would another size work? perhaps a springform? or double the recipe and make it in an angel cake type of pan?

    • Muffin pans are definitely the next best alternative to popover pans, but failing that, I suppose you could probably bake it in a load pan, too… It just loses some of the appeal/drama of a tall, individual treat.

  6. It is finally raining in California! I know what you mean about staying in and wanting to cook something fun and refreshing! That looks super tasty. Apricot preserves on top sounds extra delicious!!

  7. Limes, I think, are my favorite citrus in baked goods so I’m totally loving these babas! Those traditional rum-filled cakes needed an upgrade anyway, in my opinion…and you’ve given them one!

  8. Wow, those look delicious! I bet those are amazing during cold winter days. Yummy!

  9. I love using limes, and your recipe sounds like a great way to use them. We were in SF last weekend and went to the Marin Farmers Market. I couldn’t believe how many varieties of limes there were — silly me thought there was one! We came home with blood limes, which I haven’t used yet.

  10. First, how cool is that you just talked about driving out? Yeah, that’s right. You drive now. Wooot! ;)

    Also, THANK YOU. My mind started turning off when you mentioned winter citrus because, usually, people mean orange by that, and we know how unhappy my sense become when orange goes in desserts. But then you said lime, lime, the beautiful dessert-maker! Woooot for me, this time! :D

    • Ah ha, finally, something we differ on! I guess it had to happen some day… *sniff*
      I don’t mind orange in desserts when used appropriately. But, I will remember this and try to incorporate more lime in the future. It really does get the short end of the baking stick.

  11. That looks amazingly moist! I am so jealous of your baking ability!

    http://haymarket8.blogspot.com

  12. I too don’t cook enough with lime but I love it. These sound like a delicious creation. :)

  13. Rum, lime and flax seeds. Healthy and naughty. Love it. BAM

  14. Baba Au Rhum…I only had it once and sure enjoyed it very much…now with lime must taste even better. Love the apricot glaze too.
    Hope you are having a nice week Hannah :-)

  15. A very interesting treat. I love lime and rum – a favourite combination of mine. Perfect winter pick me up.

  16. This looks great! My dad is gonna be a huge fun since he adores baba rhum and lime seperately, never combined it though, so I think this well become my bake for the weekend :)

    I love the title, I instantly put ‘now’ behind. Who’s your baba now ey? ;)

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