In my version of the classic rum baba I’m using an infusion of hard cider and cinnamon to give a welcome, refreshing, tangy flavor. They are served with a cinnamon Chantilly cream, or you can use ice cream—I know which one I would go for, though!
– PREPARATION TIME 25 minutes, plus 50 minutes proving and 10 minutes cooling.
– COOKING TIME 12 minutes.
– FOR THE BABAS.
– 1½ cups plus 1½ tablespoons white bread flour.
– a pinch salt.
– 1 tablespoon sugar.
– 2 eggs.
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft, plus extra for greasing.
– ¼ ounce compressed yeast, or ½ envelope (1 teaspoon) active dry yeast mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water.
– FOR THE CIDER AND CINNAMON INFUSION.
– 1½ quarts dry hard cider.
– ½ cup sugar.
– 1 cinnamon stick.
– FOR THE CINNAMON CHANTILLY CREAM.
– ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream.
– 4 teaspoons sugar.
– a pinch ground cinnamon or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
Step 2: Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan and put on a baking sheet. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, each about the size of a golf ball. Take a ball of dough in your hand, form a fist and squeeze the dough out through the bottom of your fist into a muffin hole. Repeat with all the dough. (It is important the muffin holes are only half filled to let the dough rise.) Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and leave the babas to rise in a warm place 20 minutes, or until double in size.
Step 3: Meanwhile, make the cider and cinnamon infusion. Put the cider and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cover and leave to infuse 30 minutes.
Step 4: To make the cinnamon Chantilly cream, whip the cream with the sugar and ground cinnamon, using an electric mixer, until soft peaks form. Cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Step 5: Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375°F. Bake the babas about 12 minutes, turning the pan around once, until they are golden and baked through. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and leave the babas to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 6: Remove the cinnamon stick and check that the cider and cinnamon infusion is still warm. If not, reheat it briefly. Carefully dip the babas, two at a time, into the cider infusion, pushing them under until wet and heavy. Serve the babas with the cinnamon Chantilly cream.