Babas au rhum are lovely yeast-risen cakes studded with dried fruit and soaked in hot rum syrup. This recipe features the delicate flavor of citrus, imparted by just a hint of orange and lemon zest. Likewise, a small amount of warm vanilla has been added to the soaking syrup to cut down on the rum’s boldness. The result is a baba rum full of complex layers of flavor, while still holding to the traditional French recipe.
Prep Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup golden raisins or dried currants
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 12 baba molds
- Rum syrup:
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup dark rum (to taste)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup apricot preserves, heated
- Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish
Stir the yeast and the warm water together in a large bowl and allow the yeast to dissolve for 5 minutes. Lightly beat the eggs into the yeast and water. Mix the flour, sugar, citrus zest, and salt together and then stir the mixture into the yeast and eggs. Knead the dough with the softened butter for about 5 minutes, until it turns soft and elastic. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour, until it doubles in size.
While the dough is rising, soak the raisins or currants in 3 tablespoons of rum. Once the dough has doubled, beat the rum-soaked fruit into it. Grease the baba molds and divide the dough among them.
Preheat an oven to 400F. Cover the molds and allow the dough to rise for 30 to 45 minutes, until the dough has just started to rise above the molds’ edges. Uncover the babas and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they turn golden brown and begin to pull away from the sides of the molds. Immediately remove the babas from the molds and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
While the babas are cooling, make the rum soaking syrup. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil for 5 to 10 minutes, until the syrup has thickened. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir the rum and vanilla extract into the mixture.
Place the babas into the hot rum syrup and turn them several times, allowing them to soak up the syrup. They will swell and absorb most of the syrup. Carefully transfer each baba onto a dessert plate and brush with a generous amount of heated apricot preserves. Garnish the babas au rhum with vanilla Chantilly cream and serve immediately.
This rum baba recipe makes 12 servings.