December 24, 2011

Baba au rhum


I can't actually remember the first time my mom made Baba au rhum. But somewhere in my teenage years, it became a yearly tradition and she wowed family and friends (and got them tipsy too!) with this recipe. A Baba - you may be wondering - is a yeasted brioche bun that is soaked in rum syrup. My mom would make this dessert only once a year at Christmas, so it was a cherished and much-anticipated holiday treat. At this time of year, I miss my mom so much. She would get giddy and mischievous about Christmas, like a little kid. And this recipe is a perfect expression of her exuberance and Christmas cheer. She would usually put a fair bit more rum than the recipe calls for so her Baba au rhum really packed a good punch, and I'm pleased to say I am proudly carrying this tradition forward.

Along with making Babas for our family, the week before Christmas, my mom would make them for her knitting circle: a group of warm, witty, creative, and zany women who meet once a week at Gaspereau Valley Fibres, the gorgeous wool store down the road where she worked for many years. She loved those knitting afternoons with a passion! She would always come home with rosy cheeks and a sparkle in her eye. When I was home visiting, I would sometimes drop in on the group with her but always as an onlooker, never as a knitter. But recently, after years of resisting it, I finally started knitting, thanks to the patient instruction of my roommate's mom. So this year, I decided to make the Babas and bring them and my wonky half-finished mittens to my mom's knitting comrades. It's easy to see why she loved these women so much. I also understand where that twinkle in her eye came from, because holy moley (!), the conversations over there can get pretty naughty!! Which makes it all the more understandable that my mom drove around with this bumper sticker on her car.


From the snowy Gaspereau Valley in Nova Scotia, here is wishing you all a very wonderful Christmas eve, and a joyful Christmas day. May there be magic in the air and delicious goodies in your belly!


Baba au rhum
This recipe is from the Madame Benoit cookbook, which was my mom's cooking bible. Madame Benoit is kind of the Canadian version of Julia Child and though our copy of The Encyclopedia of Canadian Cuisine is very worn, missing its cover, and weighs a ton, it is still my go-to cookbook when I am home and I love reading my mom's handwritten notes on her favourite recipes.

Dough
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour (I used light spelt)
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup soft butter
2 tbsp currants

Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup rum

Stir sugar in warm water.  Add yeast, let stand 10 min. Sift flour in the middle of a large bowl, and make a well in the middle.  Pour in the eggs and yeast mixture. Work with fingers until you have a soft dough.  Knead in the bowl for 2 min.  Cover and let rise in a warm place, until double in bulk (about 2 hours). Punch down.  Add sugar.  Add soft butter and currants and work until well blended.  Knead 3 - 4 min. Fill greased baba molds (or muffin pans) to half full with the dough.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.  Bake in 450F oven for 10 min, then reduce heat to 350F and bake 20 - 30 min depending on mold size.  For the syrup: boil sugar and water 5 minutes until you have a light syrup.  Remove from heat.  Cool completely before adding the rum. Generously pour the rum syrup all over the babas or as my mom used to do, put the babas right in a large bowl filled with the syrup and let them sit in the syrup so that they absorb as much of it as they possibly can. The rum syrup should soak right through to the centre of the baba. (I generally double the syrup recipe to make sure there is enough). Whipped cream goes wonderfully with these as it softens the intensity of the rum.


I was hoping to get this post up in ample time before Christmas and I'm a little late... but these also make a perfect New Year's Day dessert so I hope some of you out there will try these!

55 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Aube! It was particularly beautiful to read more of Jali and then see some of you in the video! The recipe is scrumptious. The memories will live forever. Jali lives on in you and Ariell. God bless and merry Christmas!

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  2. Thank you so much Gina, a very merry Christmas to you and Kevin and the girls. xoxoxox

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  3. This video is so heartwarming! Beautifully done. Two questions: Who is the music by? And do the rum babas not take on flavour from the pine branches? Wishing you a very happy new year!

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  4. Thanks so much Valerie! The music is by Rue Royale (http://rueroyalemusic.com/), I believe they are UK-based, I fell in love with that song as soon as I heard it! In terms of the pine boughs, I didn't notice the flavor transferred, I think the babas probably didn't sit on the branches long enough for that (they got gobbled up so fast! ;-)... I hadn't even thought of the pine flavor to tell you the truth but it may be worth trying to infuse pine needles in the syrup next year just to see... I recently had pine-infused chocolates that were exquisite. I wish you a very joyful 2012 too! Thanks for stopping by!!

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  5. My gosh. My favourite video yet! Was completely wrapped up in the heartwarming images and memories of your mom. The story is as beautiful as the recipe. Glad you were able to join her knitting buddies this Christmas; a wonderful tradition to carry on for your mom, and, no doubt, one that makes you feel a little closer to her this time of year.

    Happiest New Year! Look forward to more of your creations in 2012 :)

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  6. I too am lucky to belong to the knitting group, and what a treat to see and sample your
    moms recipe , never meet your mom but have heard so many little stories and seen alot of her beautiful knitting, she would be so pleased that you have carried this on, thanks for sharing , your mittens rock! Joanne

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    1. Thanks so much Joanne, you are lucky to be a part of a such a rocking knitting group!

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  7. I loved this Ayoo! They looked so yummy. Flora is beside me saying ENCORE! ENCORE!ENCORE!

    Well done!

    xoxo

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  8. Wow....these look incredibly yum!lovely blog!!

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  9. Saveur just directed me to your beautiful video. I love it! Thanks for sharing a snapshot of your life. (I also love that you're Canadian)

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    1. Hi Jane, thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. Your salsa verde potato and chicken sound yummy, I am a big salsa verde fan!

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  10. Congratulations on this video's nomination in the Best Single Food Video award in Saveur Magazine's 2012 Best Food Blog Awards. What an accomplishment. Hope you win (I voted for you)! And I'm so proud to have you as a regular contributor to Edible Toronto Magazine! http://www.saveur.com/food-blog-awards/vote.jsp?done=yes&ID=1000013343

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Gail! I appreciate the vote :-) It's certainly an honour for me to write for Edible Toronto, a magazine I've been admiring ever since I moved to Toronto :-)

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  11. This is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! I have no idea how I found your blog but I just voted for you anyway :)

    Hi from London, England :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Simone :-) Say hi back to London from me, I used to live there and miss it very much!

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  12. Watching and listening to your video was like being taken from my home here in California and transported to a snowy dreamland. It was lovely, magical, captivating - like getting to share a very special Christmas with you. I loved your video and the choice of music was just perfect. You won my vote for Saveur's Best Single Food Video award.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sharman, thank you so much for your kind words and for your vote, I really appreciate it! It was indeed a snowy dreamland this year in Nova Scotia for Christmas, we got the most beautiful snowfall, and it made it all quite magical... thanks for stopping by, I love seeing new visitors here, and a very happy spring to you!

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  13. Wow, this is so gorgeous! And I'm so glad that Saveur led me here.

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    1. Thanks Kimberley!! I'm a big fan of your blog too :-)

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  14. This video is simply magical! Love it!

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    1. Merci Charlotte au Chocolat! I must try your buttermilk skillet cake, it looks delish... thanks for stopping by :-)

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  15. Beautiful video! Truly inspiring.

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  16. I read about your win in the Sunday Chronicle Herald and had to visit.What a lovely video - makes me very nostalgic.Many congratulations in your much deserved win !

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  17. I am italian and I stay in Rome.
    I'm trying to write in english...
    I see the video of this recipe... IS SIMPLY WONDERFULL:
    now in Italy is very very VERY hot and for me only see the "snow" is refreshing(?),
    but your video is wonderfull for the recipe but also why is a photo of your life...
    IS BEAUTIFULL.
    BRAVA!
    Dann/www.cucinaamoremio.com

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    1. Dann Ciao e grazie mille per i vostri commenti gentili - so come l'Italia può ottenere caldo in estate, perché ho ​​passato un estate 8 anni fa, ho un ricordo molto affettuose! Sono contento che la neve nel mio video "si raffredda" - queste Baba sono un po 'diversa dalla versione italiana, ma spero che li provare :-) Un saluto, Aube

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  18. What a great video!! Fully professional and soooo lovely! Even the music is great and of course your babas ... ; )

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  19. Aube... I think this is the most beautiful short film I've ever seen. It totally broke my heart wide open and I'm so thankful for that.
    Jill

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jill. It has a lot of meaning for me and memories tied into to it, and it's nice to know that it touches other people too :-)

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  20. Thank you, very delicious points.
    I use a lot of organic products in cooking. I’m a little worried about the future adequacy of foods on a global scale.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_tJ_wXwN0s
    …Mais ce qui vient à Paris
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tikEuxfBEq0&feature=relmfu

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  21. I just came across your blog, so glad I did. fantastic video. Thanks so much

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  22. Hi Aube,

    Heartwarming, enchanting, joyous!

    I came across your video whilst looking at food blogs - this is beautifully edited and love the music.
    Lovely photo of your mum too.

    Wishing you a rhum-tastic festive season to come.
    Yenx

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    Replies
    1. Hi Yen,
      Thanks so much for your kind message :-)

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  23. This was so delicious! I have a great cook book you might like to buy for only $16! You can but it at http://de4777zctd6w4vcrzj09j26pbf.hop.clickbank.net/ and you will love all the recipes!

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  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  25. This look so delicious!! What a fantastic blog!!

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  26. Looks simply amazing...delish!

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  27. So amazing! I love your videos, images and recipes!

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  28. Appreciate fantastic food. I just now meant it was and this sampled brilliant: -)
    Excellent web site by using meal tasty recipes me for anybody who is intrigued I have a blog with cake recipes myself if you are interested. You can find it at http://recipes-for-food.com/

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  29. J'adore les idées et les photos de cette idée. ça m'a l'air d'avoir été une réussite. Merci pour la contribution. Cela va m'inspirer pour mes evenements futur.

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  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  31. First of all congratulations as you have won the "Best Single Food Video" in 2012 Best Food Blog Awards.

    The recipe is really looks awesome.I Would like to try it as the Christmas season is coming.I'll Surely include it in to my Christmas special menu.

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    "Personal Standard of Quality" is our theme.

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  32. Such a beautiful video and thank you so much for the recipe. I've been looking for the perfect rum baba recipe for quite some time now, and, this looks pretty perfect. I'm having a dinner party next weekend, and I think these little darlings will hit the spot. Please have a glorious Christmas and a happy New Year!!!

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  33. This is how my mom made them and let them soak in that wonderful rum syrup. Thanks for sharing. Could you add a Pin button?

    Vicky

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  35. This is absolutely beautiful. I am in love with your blog and your videos. Keep them up. I will sleep inspired this evening.

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  36. This is such a lovely tribute to your mother, and to the beauties of winter, rum, and yeasted sweet breads too.

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  38. Awesome collection it’s all so beautiful and I’m sure it’s all super delicious! Looks so pretty, so good and sounds so awesome!
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  39. Summer sandwich: http://topy.tv/v/W4Wm

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