Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Apricot cream cheese babka + an unforgettable movie

Apricot cream cheese babka / Babka de cream cheese e damasco

A couple of days ago I could finally watch “Bullhead” – I spent months looking for the DVD with no success but luckily for me it was on cable last Saturday. It’s that kind of movie that stays with you for days, or even weeks after you watched it, and the main reason is Matthias Schoenaerts’ absolutely powerful and flawless performance – the physical transformation he went through to play Jacky is pretty impressive, but there’s so much more than that in that role, and I find it such a pleasure and a privilege to watch an actor immersed in a character like that; to tell you more would be to spoil the film, so I’ll stop at saying that it’s a great thing that there are actors still willing to go the extra mile to create performances like Schoenaerts’, and that makes me want to watch “Rust and Bone” even more – actually, I want to see more from both him and Michaël R. Roskam, and what a lovely surprise it was for me to read that they’ll be working together again, with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and James Gandolfini to boot. \0/

I also want to bake more from this lovely cookbook, which is full of gorgeous photos and tasty recipes – if everything else turns out as beautiful and delicious as this babka, I'm a lucky person!
Don’t be put off by the different steps in this recipe – each one of them is really simple to make and the final result is worth every second of preparation. But if I still can’t convince you to try the babka I beg of you to make at least the apricot filling – it is fantastic and would turn your morning toast into something a lot more interesting. :)

Apricot cream cheese babka / Babka de cream cheese e damasco

Apricot cream cheese babka
slightly adapted from the delicious Standard Baking Co. Pastries

1 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons (265g) all purpose flour
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon dried yeast
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk, lukewarm
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (28g/1oz) unsalted butter, softened

Apricot filling:
½ cup (120ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup (80ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ cups dried apricots
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cream cheese filling:
225g (8oz) cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
pinch of salt
¾ cup (105g) all purpose flour
3 ½ tablespoons (50g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Egg wash:
1 egg
pinch of salt

Dough: place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir to combine. Add the egg, milk, vanilla and butter and mix on medium speed until a smooth dough forms, about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and place into a lightly buttered large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for 1 hour or until doubled in volume (it was a cold day and my dough needed 1 ½ hours). While the dough rests, make both fillings and the streusel.
For the apricot filling, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, apricots and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apricots soften and the liquid is reduced by half. Remove it from the heat and cool completely. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until a purée forms. Set aside at room temperature.
Cream cheese filling: in a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and stir to combine. Set aside at room temperature.
Streusel: in a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt and flour. Add the butter and mix with a rubber spatula until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Refrigerate.
Assembling the babka: lightly butter a 9x5in loaf pan.
Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out onto a 25x60cm (10x24in) rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Spread the apricot filling evenly over the dough leaving a 1cm (1/2 in) border. Spread the cream cheese filling over the apricot filling. Starting with the bottom edge, roll the dough into the middle of the rectangle and do the same with the top edge so that the two rolls meet in the center. Visualize the long cylinder divided into three equal lengths. Fold the left third over onto the middle third. Then fold the right third over the middle third. Pick up the dough and turn it over so the seam is on the bottom. Then, holding each end, gently twist it in the middle and place it in the prepared pan. Place the egg and the salt for the egg wash in small bowl and lightly whisk it with a fork. Brush it over the babka, cover with plastic wrap and leave it to rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours in a warm place – it is ready to be baked when the dough holds a dimple when pressed lightly with a finger. Place the remaining egg wash in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Brush the babka once again with the egg wash and spread the streusel evenly on top, pressing lightly with your hands so the crumbs adhere to the babka. Bake for about 50 minutes or until deep golden brown. Let cool in the pan over a wire rack for about 25 minutes then carefully unmold onto the rack to cool completely – carefully because some of the crumbs will fall out of the babka while you unmold it.

Serves 6-8


Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

I love everything about this babka, from the apricot filling to the streusel topping!

Unknown said...

This recipe sounds delicious, but you neglected to include one egg yolk in your list of ingredients for the Cream Cheese filling, even though one egg yolk is included in the instructions for making the filling!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Jo, I did not use the egg yolk. The text is correct, now - tks!

Anonymous said...

Hi, was curious if you thought I could make this cake in a bundt cake pan by placing the topping in first with the dough on top? Would this be ok?

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hi Anonymous - I don't think that would work. :S

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