Friday, November 29, 2013

Chocolate and almond babka and another post-movie emergency

Chocolate and almond babka / Babka de amêndoa e chocolate

After watching in a row four movies by Danish directors (four amazing movies, by the way) I thought it was time for something lighter with a touch of romance, and because of that I went for Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, the reason for choosing it being that I was never a fan of Michelle Williams but that changed after My Week With Marilyn and that Seth Rogen reminds me of my 18 year old nephew, who happens to be the sweetest teenage boy I’ve ever known (and who also gives the best hugs in the world). :D

Take This Waltz is a beautiful movie, indeed, and both Williams and Rogen are fantastic in it, but my plans of a couple of hours of fun and romance completely backfired because by the end of the movie I’d cried tons and was feeling pretty miserable. :( And, as usual, I had nothing sweet around to make me feel momentarily better, not even a square of chocolate – I do have one babka just like the one on the photo stashed in my freezer (the recipes makes two loaves, which is great because the bread is delicious) but biting into something as hard as a rock wouldn’t solve my problem (it would probably create a new one involving a visit to the dentist). I guess I should defrost the baked goods prior to watching movies – or choose something really lighter. :D

Chocolate and almond babka
slightly adapted from the amazing Gourmet Traveller

180ml lukewarm whole milk
14g (2 sachets) dried yeast
1 cup (100g) granulated sugar
485g all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
210g unsalted butter, softened
100g almonds, lightly toasted and cooled
100g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped – I used one with 53% cocoa solids
1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork, for brushing
demerara sugar, for sprinkling over the babka

Combine milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook and set aside in a warm place until foamy (5-7 minutes). Add 75g of the flour, mix to combine, then add eggs, yolk, remaining sugar and salt, mix to combine. While mixing on low speed, gradually add remaining flour until combined, then add 150g of the butter, a little at a time, beating until dough is shiny and elastic (3-5 minutes; dough will be quite soft). Place dough in a lightly buttered large bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size (1-1½ hours).
Process the almonds in a food processor until coarse crumbs form, combine with remaining softened butter to form a paste and set aside at room temperature until required.
Knock back dough and divide into two. Working with one half at a time, roll dough on a lightly floured surface into a 20x30cm (8x12in) rectangle. With longest side facing you, spread over half the almond paste, leaving a 4cm-border, then scatter over half the chocolate. Roll away from you to form a cylinder, lightly brush ends with the beaten egg, then join ends to make a loop, twist into a figure of eight and place in a buttered and floured 12.5x22.5cm (9x5in) loaf pan. Repeat with remaining dough, then set both pans aside in a warm place until dough reaches the top of pan (1 hour).
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Brush babkas with the beaten egg, scatter with demerara sugar and bake in the center of oven until golden and cooked through (35-40 minutes). Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out, cool on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature.
Babkas will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 3 days, and are best served warm or in toasted slices.

Serves 6-8 each babka


Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

What a scrumptious looking babka!

Sara said...

Loving this babka - yum!!

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