Looking back, (I know I’m a little late hopping the 2015 nostalgia train…), last year was probably one of the most challenging, exciting, inspiring and stimulating years I’ve had so far. (less adjectives would’ve been ideal.. but I just get too carried away).
Moving abroad, away from family, into the real world, to meet a whole new country and city, and for once, literally having no idea how the year would evolve.
It twas thrilling to say the least! And looking back, it’s amazing to see where 9 months will take you!
But of course, being away from home is in no realm easy, the small nuances of home become the things that bring around a serious longing for home. Buutttt I was super duper lucky to be able to be comforted by the feeling family would be there by the end of the year to reunite! oh happy days!
And they sorta brought the aussie warm weather with them… say whaaatttt warm London Winter?!
This didn’t stop us from crowding around the dinner table, tucking into many a winter warmers, working to pretend it was snowing outside, and for no reason at all consuming copious amounts of chocolate.
After a couple of weeks spent around the raucous aussie family bunch, it seemed only fitting (and so sad) to say goodbye to my sister on Australia Day as she headed back home.
As a result of too much time spent attempting to try as many rockin’ London cafes before she left, any chance to bake Lamingtons on Australia Day celebrations went out the window (although fresh brown butter cookies were present, does that count?).
In a super late cheers to Australia Day, hoorah to hilarious time spent with family, and the new year(? – can I still say that? no bec, your too late.. as per usual) I decided to try my homemade attempt at the babka.
After being tantalised by this tempting sweet, buttery, and bready beauty I thought it only fitting I fill it with chocolate, coconut and raspberry jam. Lamington in the form of a babka. Chuck in a latte, a smear of butter and it dun’ get much better than that.
Now THAT is a hit of nostalgia if I ever saw one.
recipe adapted from Feeling Foodish
makes 2 loaves
165g cup whole milk
10g active dry yeast
600g all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for work surface
2 eggs (100 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
115g stick unsalted butter, room temperature
150g dark cooking chocolate
85g icing sugar
20g desiccated coconut
4 tbsp raspberry jam
1/3 cup water
75 g granulated sugar
1. Pour milk and yeast into a bowl. Add flours, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and half of the butter in the order listed. Mix the dough for 3 to 4 minutes and them slowly add remaining butter and keep mixing/kneading until combined, another 4 minutes
2. Form the dough into a flattened square and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours
1. Melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar and cocoa; mixture should form a spreadable paste.
Assembling the loaves:
1. Butter and line both loaf tins (2 lb, or 1kg, or 900g). Roll out half the dough onto a nicely floured workbench (leaving the other half of the dough to chill in the fridge) to around 25cm by 25-30cm rectangle.
3. Trim last 1.5cm off each end of log. Carefully cut the log in half lenghtwise and lay them next to each other on the bench, leaving them cut sides up. Pinch the top ends gently together. Fold one side over the other forming a twist, and pinch the other end of the dough together. Gently transfer to the prepared loaf tin, cover and leave to rise for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Repeat this for the other half of the dough.
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. (Feel free to sprinkle over any left over coconut onto your babkas now!). Place both babkas together in the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until sounding hollow when tapped, and if you have a thermometer, a cooked babka’s internal temperature will be 85C or 185F. Also, if you notice the babka is browning too quickly, simply cover with foil.
2. While the babkas are baking, make the sugar syrup by simmering the sugar and water, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. As soon as the babkas are out of the oven, brush over the sugar syrup, leave to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes then, remove to cool fully (if you can resist not eating them fresh out of the oven).