Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka, Sliced
Chocolate Babka
Recipe from Saveur, March 2007
Notes: When I bought this issue from the newsstand, it was the article on Mrs. London's Bakery and Café in New York State that caught my eye, especially the photos of the lemon meringue pie and chocolate babka. Ever since this article, I've seen mention of Mrs. London in the New York Times and Pastry & Baking North America. The babka recipe is very labour-intensive but this past weekend, I made it not once, but twice! There were only two uncommon ingredients: almond paste, a 66/34 (almond/sugar ratio) version which I found at McCall's, and, sponge cake, leftover from pie class last year (!!!).

On Friday/Saturday, I made loaves using dried cherries instead of raisins; the 2nd time, I used raisins but tweaked it in a few ways. I used a bit less water in the almond-crumb mixture, as it seemed too wet. I used much less cinnamon sugar as I found it to be too much. I didn't bother to press the mixture into the dough as all that chocolate makes this a messy job. The shaping could use a better description: after rolling into a log, form the dough into a U-shape, then twist.

Wow, is this ever a tasty bread, especially the one still warm from the oven on Saturday afternoon. The bread itself has a delicious, buttery-citrus flavour, then you taste the almond paste and chocolate, and then you bite into a tangy piece of dried fruit. Streusel on the top and sides adds crunch and contrast. Lots of work, but well worth it.

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