“A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes at dessert after dinner. ‘Much obliged’, said he, pushing the plate aside, ‘I am not accustomed to take my wine in pills’.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Ready for a little taste of France? The April Bakers Challenge is hosted by Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina and she chose Savarin,a yeasted cake made with a rich dough the soaked in syrup and served with pastry or chantilly cream (which is just pastry cream mixed with whipped cream to lighten it). I bet ice cream would be pretty good, too.
A little history, taken from “What’s cooking America”
Baba (BAH-bah) – Baba is called Babka in Poland and in France. In French, the word baba meaning, “falling over or dizzy.” These are small cakes made from yeast dough containing raisins or currants. They are baked in cylindrical molds and then soaked with sugar syrup usually flavored with rum (originally they were soaked in a sweet fortified wine). After these cakes were soaked in the wine sauce for a day, the dried fruits would fall out of them.
1600s – It is believed to be a version of a kugelhopf, which was invented in Lemberg in the 1600s. The baba was brought to Paris, France by King Stanislas Leszczynska, the deposed king of Poland and the father-in-law of King Louis XV (1710–1774) of France when he was exiled to Lorraine. According to legend, he found the customary kouglhopf too dry for his liking and dipped the bread in rum. He was so delighted that he named the cake after one of the heroes of his favorite book, Ali Baba from A Thousand and One Nights. Later, his chef refined the sweet bread by using brioche dough and adding raisins to the recipe. The dish was then simply called “baba.”
According to the famous book called Larousse Gastronomique, The Encyclopedia of Food, Wine & Cookery, by Prosper Montagne:
“At the same time a Parisian Maitre Patissier, Julien, by omitting raisins from the dough, giving the cake another shape and changing the syrup in which it was steeped (this syrup remained the secret of his establishment for a long time) created the Brillat-Savarin, which later became simply savarin.”
The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson says that one of the Julien brothers, from a family of Parisian pastry-makers, set his mind to experimenting with the baba recipe sometime in the 1840s. The result was this rich and tasty dessert, which he named in honor of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), celebrated French gourmet and writer on gastronomy.
The dessert became very popular in France, but the people called it Baba Au Rhum and soon dropped the name Savarin. In other parts of the world, the cake is known as simply Savarin. In Turkey this cake is called “father’s cake.”
So what this is saying is that Savarin, Baba Au Rhum, ad Kouglhofp are all in the same family, but seriously, isn’t all food a derivitive of another in some way?. We just keep re-inventing the same wheel over and over. Thank goodness it’s a long road…
You will be making an enriched dough for this. What is that? Well, if you have ever made brioche, panettone, or challah then you are already familiar with enriched doughs. It just means that it has eggs and butter so you have to work longer at getting the gluten developed. With a stand mixer that means about 15-20 minutes mixing time, by hand, longer. I cut this recipe in half and made individual cakes with the help of some vintage tins since I wasn’t expecting too may people to drop by this week. I would love to make a single large oe for a dinner party though. Anyway, my friends, Bake On!
2½ cups (600 ml) (12-1/3 oz) (350 gm) bread flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water, lukewarm
6 (320 gm) large eggs at room temperature, separated
½ satchel (1½ teaspoons) (4 gm) instant yeast or 15 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast
4 teaspoons (20 ml) (20 gm) sugar
2/3 stick (1/3 cup) (80 ml) (75 gm) butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) orange and lemon zest (I used the zest of a blood orange ad 1 tsp of fioro di sicilia)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) butter for greasing the work surface, hands, dough scraper & baking pan
In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons (1 oz) (25 gm) flour and yeast , cover with cling film and let rise 60 minutes
After 30 minutes put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and start working with the paddle at low-speed adding flour until you have a soft dough that sticks to the bowl (about 2 cups or 270 gm) and work until it comes together , cover with cling film and let rest 30 min
Add the sponge to the mixer bowl along with a tablespoon of flour and start mixing at low-speed (if you wish to add the zest do it now)
When it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl add one yolk and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour. Add the second yolk , the sugar and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour. Raise the speed a little, add the third yolk and the salt and as soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour. Keep on adding one yolk at the time and the flour saving a tablespoon of flour for later.
Mix the dough until is elastic and makes threads, about 5-7 minutes. Add the butter at room temperature and as soon as the butter is adsorbed add the last tablespoon of flour. Keep on mixing till the dough passes the window pane test, about 10 minutes.
Cover the dough with cling film and let it proof until it has tripled in volume 2 to 3 hours.
You can prepare the Pastry cream now if you choose to use it, and refrigerate it.
While you wait prepare your baking pan buttering it very carefully not leaving too much butter on it. Grease your dough scraper, your hands and your work surface and put the dough on it and fold with the Dough Package Fold two or three times around (5 folds twice or three times). Cover with cling foil and let it rest 15 minutes on the counter.Turn the dough upside down and with the help of your buttered dough scraper shape your dough http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta2_h6Qogp0 in a rounded bun.
Pre-heat oven to moderate 340°F/170°C/gas mark 3
Bake the Savarin for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown; meanwhile, prepare the Syrup
When the Savarin is done take it out of the oven, let it cool and remove carefully out of the pan. You have two choices now : you can immerse it in syrup right now or you can let it dry out (so it will lose some of his moisture that will be replaced by the syrup) and soak it later on.
To immerse it in syrup it is a good idea to place it in the mold you baked it in (a spring-form pan one wouldn’t work for this) and keep adding ladles of syrup until you see it along the rim of the pan. Or you can just soak it in a big bowl keeping your ladle on top of it so it doesn’t float. Once the Savarin is really well soaked carefully move it on a cooling rack positioned over a pan to let the excess syrup drip off. The soaked Savarin gains in flavor the next day .Whatever you decide the day you want to serve it, glaze it and fill the hole with your filling of choice and decorate it. You can serve the Savarin with some filling on the side.
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) water
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) blood orange juice
1/2 cup Amaretto, separated in two
3/4 Cup sugar
Boil the water, juice, 1/4 cup Amaretto, and sugar for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 1/4 cup Amaretto. Cool completely.
Natalia’s Peach Syrup:
1½ cups (350 ml) peach tea
1½ cups (350 ml) peach juice
1½ cups (350 ml) water
1 cup (240 ml) (8 oz) (225 gm) sugar
zest of one lemon
one cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Jam (I used lingonberry for the color, but apple or peach is great)
2 tablespoons water
In a saucepan mix jam and water and warm up. When the savarin is cool and soaked, brush it with the glaze
You can store the dried savarin for 5 days in a closed container. If you have soaked it cover well with cling foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Additional Information: Folding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta2_h6Qogp0