Archive for April, 2013


“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.”DSC_2463

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.DSC_2437

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.DSC_2443

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.

Make a hole in the center with your thumb and put it in the prepared pan. Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm spot until the dough reaches the top of the pan about 1 hour.2013-04-252

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.DSC_2455


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

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

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

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Mmm…Soft, fluffy bread, filled with cheese and herbs….. hungry yet? You should be, because this months bread is mouth-watering. I just love making filled breads and this choice didn’t let down. Our host (for us Buddies) this month was Natashya, of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies (besides her cooking, you should check out her book reviews) and she chose the winning recipe from the first-ever National Festival of Breads, called Pain Bianco, a white bread filled with fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic  powder, and shredded cheese. I , of course, did not have these on hand so I improvised with what I could find in the fridge.  This recipe makes 2 large loaves of bread so I made 1 large loaf and 2 smaller ones. First up was the large loaf filled with maple mustard, Gruyère cheese, roasted garlic and minced parsley. Holy crow- break out the white wine, because this was fiercely good! For the smaller loaves I made one with farmer cheese, roasted garlic (I had a whole head to use up) and fresh rosemary, and for the other one I used pesto and asagio cheese. I had my friend Lesley over and we tried a slice from each one. Twice.  This was so easy to put together as well. The first rise is only about 45 minutes and the second is about the same. I love that the filling possibilities are as endless as your imagination. The really beautiful part of this is the presentation. The dough is filled and rolled up, jelly-roll style, and then cut down the middle (not all the way though) so part of the filling shows through. Natashya suggests using kitchen shears to do the cutting but I find it easier just to use my serrated bread. You do what makes you feel confident, but seriously, try a go at making this bread. You are your friends will be happy you did. Bake On!DSC_2487

p.s.- I am posting the original recipe but if you are like me, make something up that makes you happy

Tomato, Basil, & Garlic Filled Pane Bianco

King Arthur Flour website

1/2 cup (4 oz/ 113 g)warm water
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz/50 g) sugar (I only added 2 teaspoons)
4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm (8 oz/ 227 g)low-fat milk
1/3 cup (2 3/8oz /67 g) extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups (25 1/2 oz/723 g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour (I used all-purpose flour and also added 1/4 cup ground flax meal)
1 (8 1/2-ounce/241 g) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 1/2 cups (6 oz/ 170 g) shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
2/3 cup (1/2 oz/ 14 g) chopped fresh basil

1) Combine the water, sugar, yeast, milk, olive oil, eggs, salt, and  flour, and mix and knead by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine until  you’ve made a cohesive, soft dough. If you’re kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 5 to 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should  barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the  bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, and turn to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 45 minutes

2)  Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the sun-dried tomatoes; lay them on a paper  towel to absorb any excess oil. Using kitchen shears, finely chop the  tomatoes.

3) Line two baking sheets with parchment. Gently  deflate the dough and divide it in half. Roll one piece into a 22″ x 8  1/2″ rectangle. Sprinkle on half the garlic, cheese, basil, and  tomatoes.


4) Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal.DSC_2480

5) Place the log seam-side down on a baking sheet. Using kitchen shears,  start 1/2″ from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1″ deep, to within 1/2″ of the other end.DSC_2481

6) Keeping the cut  side up, form an “S” shape. Tuck both ends under the center of the “S”  to form a “figure 8”; pinch the ends together to seal. Cover and let  rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Repeat with the  remaining dough.

7) While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

"S" for Sandie!

8) Bake the first loaf for 35 to 40 minutes. Tent the loaf with foil after 15 to 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. Bake the remaining loaf.


9) Remove loaves from their pans; cook on racks. Store any leftovers well-wrapped, at room temperature.


You are going to love this!!!


You must visit the real bread baking babes to see their amazing work!!!!

The Bread Baking Babes

Bake My Day – Karen

Bitchin’ Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie

blog from OUR kitchen – ElizabethBBBuddies april 13

Feeding my enthusiasms – Pat

girlichef – Heather

Life’s A Feast – Jamie

Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya

Lucullian Delights – Ilva

My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna

Notitie Van Lien – Lien

Paulchens Foodblog – Astrid

Provecho Peru – Gretchen

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