makes two loaves, 9" X 5"
For the fruit filling-
½ cup fresh orange juice
1½ cups dried apricots, coarsely chopped
3 oz. dried cranberries
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup dried pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
In a medium bowl, combine the orange juice with the dried fruits. Set aside.
For the chocolate filling-
⅔ cup coarsely ground walnuts
⅔ cup butter (can substitute non-dairy shortening)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ cup brown sugar
4 oz. dark chocolate (70%), cut into small chunks
⅜ cup cocoa powder
Place the ground walnuts in a small bowl. In a saucepan over low heat, whisk together the butter, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, dark chocolate chunks and cocoa powder until melted and smooth. Set the fillings aside while you prepare the dough.
For the dough-
1½ cups warm water
4½ teaspoons instant dry yeast
¼ cup plus a pinch of brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (can substitute non-dairy shortening if planning a kosher meal)
5 oz. sweet potato puree from 1 medium sweet potato
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon orange zest
4¼ cups all-purpose flour plus additional as needed
egg wash made from one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
For the sugar syrup-
⅔ cup sugar
⅔ cup water
3 tablespoons orange liqueur (I used Cointreau)
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan; place over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the liqueur.
In a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine warm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, allowing the yeast to proof. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, butter, sweet potato, egg, salt, cayenne, cardamom, and zest. Transfer the proofed yeast mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with either the paddle or the dough hook attachment. Add the brown sugar/butter/sweet potato/egg/spice/zest mixture to the yeast, mixing on low, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Next add the flour gradually, mixing on low, about 8 minutes, until well blended. The dough should feel smooth and elastic; if it feels sticky, add an additional 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a large, well greased mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place, letting the dough rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes. Gently deflate the dough, divide it in half and return one half to the refrigerator, covered in plastic.
Roll out one half of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle 10” wide x 12” long x ½” thick. Leaving a 1” border, spread half of the chocolate filling over the dough. Sprinkle with half of the ground walnuts then sprinkle half of the fruit mixture over the walnuts. Carefully roll up the dough, starting with the long side, creating a jellyroll; pinch the long edges to seal and transfer the filled dough to a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate. Repeat with the second half of dough, rolling it into a rectangle, spreading it with the remaining half of chocolate, fruit and walnuts, and rolling it to create a jellyroll. Transfer the second filled dough to the parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate.
Use butter or non-dairy shortening to grease two 9” glass loaf pans. Line with parchment paper, creating an overhang both lengthwise and widthwise, which will help you lift the baked loaves from the pans. Retrieve the jellyrolls from the fridge. Use a sharp knife to slice each jellyroll in half lengthwise, creating two long pieces of dough per each roll. Working with one roll at a time, carefully twist the two halves around each other in a rope-like fashion, then gently fold it in half so it measures about 9” (the length of the loaf pan.) Repeat with the second jellyroll. Some of the filling may escape; not to worry. Carefully gather the Babkas, placing one in each loaf pan. Cover each loaf with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1½ hours.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Remove the kitchen towels from the loaf pans. Brush each loaf with egg wash and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until the Babkas are golden and test clean with a knife. You may have a bit of chocolate on the knife; that’s okay. Set the loaves on a cooling rack. Use a small paring knife or a skewer to poke small holes in the loaves, then gently brush the loaves with the sugar syrup. Cool before gently lifting from the loaf pans. The extra loaf can be well wrapped and frozen.
Filling from 101 Cookbooks
(makes one 9” pie)
For the Cornmeal Crust- (this makes enough for two 9” shells; wrap and freeze the second portion of dough for another time)
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon maple sugar* or brown sugar
½ pound cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
½ cup ice cold water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
(*note: Maple syrup is not the same as maple sugar and should not be used in its place.)
Combine the ice cold water and apple cider vinegar in a Pyrex measuring cup; set in the freezer.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and maple or brown sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture, using a pastry cutter or two knives. Retrieve the cold water/vinegar from the freezer. Gradually add to the flour/butter mixture, tossing with a fork until the dough looks shaggy and just comes together. Divide the dough in half, shape into two discs, and wrap each disc in plastic. Refrigerate one disc for one hour before rolling out. (The second disc can be frozen for up to one month.) When chilled, roll the dough out on a sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour. Roll the dough into a circle about 12” in diameter; ease it (without stretching) into a 9” pie plate. Trim the edges so you have a 1” overhang; turn the edges under so they are flush with the edge of the pie plate and crimp the edge decoratively. Place the pie shell in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the chilled pie shell on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Line the pie shell with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil so that it fits snugly and extends over the edges of the dough. Fill the parchment or foil with beans or pie weights. Bake in the preheated 375 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet with the pie shell from the oven and carefully remove the parchment/foil and beans. Return the pie shell to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, just until golden and it is no longer raw on the bottom. Set aside to cool while you prepare the filling and REDUCE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 325 degrees F.
For the Maple Buttermilk filling-
zest of 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup maple syrup (pref. grade b)
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon bourbon
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, brown sugar, egg yolks and flour until you have a smooth mixture. Gradually add the maple syrup, whisking to combine, then gradually add the buttermilk, whisking until smooth, then the vanilla, salt, and bourbon. The custard fills the pie shell to the brim, so instead of splashing the filled pie across the kitchen, it might be easier to do this: Place the baking sheet with the cooled pie shell on the middle rack of the oven and pull the rack out slightly. Transfer the custard to a large Pyrex with a spout and carefully fill the pie shell. When the pie shell is full, carefully ease the oven rack back in place. Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 55-60 minutes, just until the filling is set. Set the pie on a rack to cool completely before slicing. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
makes one 14” x 4½” x 1” rectangular tart
Gingersnap/Hazelnut Crumb crust-
6 oz. gingersnap cookie crumbs, preferably from homemade cookies
½ cup finely ground hazelnuts
2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, ground hazelnuts, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter. Press the mixture evenly across the bottom and up the sides of a 14” x 4½” x 1” rectangular tart pan with removable bottom. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes to chill the crust. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 8 minutes, just until set. Place on a rack to cool while you prepare the filling. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Butternut Squash filling-
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups fresh butternut squash puree or one 15-ounce can squash puree
½ cup heavy cream
3 eggs, beaten with a fork
In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and spices. In a large mixing bowl, place the squash puree with the sugar/spice mixture. Whisk to combine. Add the heavy cream and then the eggs, mixing to blend. Retrieve the baking sheet with the tart shell. Carefully pour the filling into the tart shell. (If you have a little extra, bake it in small ramekins or glass pyrex cups.) Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, just until the edges begin to puff and the center is just the slightest bit jiggly. (Ramekins and pyrex cups will need a little less time.) The tart will continue to set up as it cools. Prepare the meringue topping.
3 egg whites
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In the bowl from a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar together over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bowl from over the simmering water. Set the bowl on a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks, about 6 minutes, then add the vanilla. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a leaf tip. Pipe the meringue over the tart and then brown the meringue with a kitchen torch. Leftovers should be covered and refrigerated.
(adapted from Bake From Scratch and The Fleischmann Treasury of Yeast Baking)
makes one dozen generous servings
Prepare the dough-
¼ cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten with a fork
1 cup whole milk (do not substitute lowfat)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4½ cups bread flour
In a medium bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes to proof; the yeast will dissolve and become foamy.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and the salt, mixing until fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing to blend, then slowly add the milk and lemon juice. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture. Gradually add the flour to the butter mixture, beating on low speed until thoroughly combined. Continue beating the dough on low speed for an additional five minutes. (If you do not have a heavy duty stand mixer, you will have to turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand.)
After the dough has been kneaded, place it in a well-buttered large mixing bowl; turn the dough so it is lightly coated with butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place, until doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes.
Prepare the filling-
2½ cups of chopped apples (2-3 Honeycrisp, Macoun or Pippin)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and spreadable
Rinse, peel, and core the apples; chop them into ¼” pieces and toss with the lemon juice. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside while you roll out the dough. Lightly butter two-9” cast iron skillets.
Gently punch down the risen dough. On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle, 12” x 18”. Use a ruler or a bench scraper to straighten the edges of the dough. Use an offset spatula to spread the softened butter evenly over the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar/spice mixture over the butter. Top the butter and sugar/spices evenly with the walnuts and then with the apple pieces. Starting with the long side, roll up the dough jellyroll style, easing the roll with your fingers to keep it an even thickness. Pinch the edges closed. Mark the jellyroll with a small paring knife in 1½” widths; this will give you 12 pieces. The easiest way to divide the roll is to use a long piece of dental floss; guide it beneath the jellyroll, bring it up and cross it, pulling the floss to slice through the dough. Divide the pieces of dough evenly between the two skillets. (If you only have one cast iron skillet, you can bake the remaining 6 portions of dough in a 9”x 1¾” round baking pan.) Cover the skillets with clean kitchen towels and let the dough rise for about 40 minutes, until the buns have doubled in size. About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the cast iron skillets in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden. Set on top of a stovetop or on cooling racks to cool.
Prepare the cider caramel-
1 cup fresh pressed apple cider
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup heavy cream
In a heavy bottomed 3qt. stockpot, cook cider over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced to ¼ cup. Add the brown sugar and butter, stirring to combine. Gradually add the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until the caramel thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Cool to room temperature before drizzling over the morning buns.