Technical bakes part 1.1, rum babas – research.

Baba au Rhum is such a 1970s dish that very few modern recipe books acknowledge their existence. I do have recipes for the dessert in Larousse, which basically says it is a kugelhopf en flambé invented by King Stanislas Leczinski I of Poland at some point in the mid-18th century.

The recipe here is typical Larousse; incredible details in the ingredients, very sparse in method. That is what the GBBO contestants get, but reading it shows things that are typically 18th century, like dried fruit, coriander, using large moulds and a “hot oven” (which in modern terms is not). It also uses fresh yeast – 20g! – instead of the dried stuff we all have kicking around in cupboards. There’s a line that basically means “grind your sugar”. I think I need a more up-to-date recipe. Time to hit Google.

After two minutes of research I find that bless ’em, the BBC have put the recipes on the website. So! Time to find some savarin moulds, small ring moulds that I’ll inevitably find other uses for (like bundt, which is fast becoming a bit trendy amongst certain friends). Seems like the best place to find them is Lakeland, but although my local cookware shop doesn’t have them on the website quickly popping in to Peter Maturi yields two moulds, and I’ll put the rest of the mixture in darioles, of which I have plenty. Or maybe muffin cases.

Me being me, I like to do lots of research into recipes so I can look at the similarities and differences, but baba seems to be pretty straightforward and consistent, dried fruit, yeast and size of mould aside.

…and then wandering around W’stones I spot there’s a new GBBO book out. Which contains many (if not all) the technical challenge recipes. I’m now caught in a dilemma; I want to do these myself, but I know the recipe book will contain too much detail. So I put the book back down and will get it after the challenge is completed.

Creme chantilly is creme chantilly. I find that people overwhip cream catastrophically when they’re making this sort of thing; it should be soft enough to drop off a spoon, not like fluffy butter. Anyway! There’s a fruit component too; soft fruits are pretty much gone but I reckon a strawberry compote would be fine.

All I need now is rum. And because I don’t really drink very much will probably keep me going through any other boozy challenges that come up. I’ll bob into Gerry’s and see what they have in half bottles.

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