Rum Babas

Week 9 of the 2020 GBBO and the bakers were tasked with making Savarins for their signature bake. Savarin dough is wetter and stickier than a regular dough, making it almost impossible to knead by hand, something that I wished I had known before starting. The end dough is therefore piped into the moulds. One of the most well known savarins would be the rum baba, which is what I attempted to make yesterday.

I found a recipe on the BBC Food website by Paul Hollywood, which isn’t a good start for me as I always seem to struggle with his recipes. Anyway, everything about making rum babas would be steps into the unknown for me.

First step was to make the enriched dough. I have made bread a few times in the past and not having a food mixer at the time I’ve always done it by hand. First mistake, I should have used the food mixer that we know own. I should also have read up a little more about savarin dough so that I would have known what to expect. Because I couldn’t knead it by hand I ended up adding lots more flour until it behaved more like a regular dough. I will admit that I became slightly frustrated. To calm down I took Nelly our Pointer to the park while the dough proved.

Upon returning the dough had nicely risen, so I rolled it into the savarin moulds. I should have been able to pipe the dough. After a short prove they were put in the oven. After five minutes they had risen amazingly. Due to the wetter nature of a savarin dough, it shouldn’t rise too much more, and not above the level of the mould, which mine had.

While this was going on I could make the rum syrup, another new step for me, although this was quite easy. Water, sugar and rum into a pan and bring to a rolling boil until the mixture is nice and syrupy.

After nearly 25 minutes I could bring the savarins out of the oven to cool on a rack. I carefully popped them out of their moulds and poured the syrup over them, turning them over to repeat on the other side.

Next up was to make Chantilly cream. Another new step for me, although once again this was nice and easy. Double cream plus icing sugar with a little vanilla essence was whipped up until nice and firm. The cream was then piped into the centre of the savarins, adding fresh raspberries and a light dusting of icing sugar.

Arty photograph once again courtesy of my lovely wife, and as you can probably tell, my rum babas look nothing like rum babas. However they did taste really good, much like a rum soaked brioche. Definitely not a waste of time or ingredients, and at least I know where I went wrong. Another bake which I will be trying again over the winter.

Next weekend me and Helen will be attempting the technical bake from the final, namely making Walnut Whips. This involves making walnut biscuit, chocolate ganache, marshmallow and tempered chocolate. What could possibly go wrong 🙂

All of my other bakes can be found here.

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