This is my own unique update on the east european treat that in recent months has grown rapidly in popularity across the UK. The dough itself is enriched giving meaning it is similar in texture to brioche. For the filling, which would traditionally be of a chocolately nature, I opted to make my own pistachio butter which I could then use to spread over the dough to create my babka. My pistachio butter is incredibly versatile and can also be used as a spread or in other recipes.
To finish off this babka I drizzled it with a hibiscus sauce - the sauce keeps the babka nice and moist meaning it will last a few days in an airtight container - although in my house it seems to dissapear within 24 hours!
This recipe may take a while but I can assure you it is well worth the wait.
For the dough
- 320g Strong white bread flour
- 10g Yeast
- 60g Caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp Fine salt
- 1 Large egg
- 90ml Milk
- 75g Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
For the pistachio butter
- 200g Shelled, unsalted pistachios
- 2tbsp Honey
- 1tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1-2tbsp Milk (if required)
For the hibiscus drizzle
-3tbsp Caster sugar
-2-3tbsp Hibiscus syrup
- In a freestanding electric mixer (with dough hook attachment) place flour, yeast, sugar and salt together.
- In a separate jug whisk together the egg and milk before pouring onto the flur mixture. Turn the mixer up to a medium speed and allow the dough to come together before adding the butter.
- Knead on a high speed for at least 5 minutes in the mixer, then knead by hand for a further 5 minutes.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and leave in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
- While the dough is resting prepare the pistachio butter by placing the pistachios in a food processor and blending until the pistachios break down to become a paste. Add honey and cinnamon before blending again.
- If the butter is too thick or the pieces of pistachio are too large add milk and blend until your desired consistency is reached. Set aside for use later.
- Once your dough has rested, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 50cm x 30cm.
- Spread the pistachio butter in a thin layer across the rectangle so none of the surface is left uncovered before rolling up from the 30cm side into a long log shape.
- Use a sharp knife to split the log in half so that it becomes two strands - each strand will have an inner side where all the layers of dough can be seen, and an outer side where only the back of the dough can be seen.
- Use these strands, inner side up, to weave the dough into a twisted shape (as shown below).
- Once done place in a lightly greased loaf tin and cover with clingfilm before leaving in a warm place to rise for at least 90 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Fan).
- Once 90 minutes has elapsed place the babka in the oven and bake for 15 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 160 degrees (fan) and baking for a further 20 minutes.
- During the final 10 minutes of baking prepare your hibiscus drizzle by placing sugar, water and hibiscus syrup in a saucepan and heating on a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved before removing from the heat and allowing to cool slightly.
- Once the babka is ready, remove from the oven and immediately pour over the entire portion of hibiscus drizzle, ensuring all of the babka is evenly coated - this will keep the babka moist and tasty for a good few days.
- Leave to cool completely before turning out from your tin and serving.
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