Walnut and Raspberry Babka
Chef Monica Glass
The buttery yeast-raised loaf cake known as babka is often swirled with chocolate or cinnamon. Chef Monica Glass uses raspberry jam instead for color and flavor contrast; hers is made in house but a good quality commercial jam can be substituted. A walnut crumble tops off the not-too-sweet cake. The babka is easy to slice into individual portions to serve at breakfast or packaged to go.
3 scant cups bread flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant dry yeast
1 tsp. grated orange zest
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
¼ cup whole milk
¾ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
6 tbsp. cornstarch
¾ cup walnuts
½ cup sugar in the raw
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1. For dough, in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast, zest and cardamom. Mix until combined. Add eggs and milk; mix on medium-low speed until dough comes together, about 5 minutes.
2. Add butter, a little at a time, mixing until just incorporated after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Continue mixing dough until it pulls away from the bowl and looks elastic and shiny.
3. Lightly grease a clean bowl. Form dough into a ball and place in bowl. Cover bowl and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 to 1½ hours. Place bowl in refrigerator overnight.
4. For walnut crumble, in food processor, combine cornstarch and walnuts; pulse until mealy. Transfer to medium bowl; add sugar, butter and salt. Mix just until combined. Cover and set aside.
5. Line 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment. Remove dough from refrigerator. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 9- by 17-inch rectangle. Spread raspberry jam in an even layer over dough; sprinkle with walnut crumble. Starting with long side, roll dough into a tight coil. Carefully transfer coil to plastic wrap and place in freezer for about 10 minutes.
6. Remove coil from freezer. With serrated knife, carefully slice in half lengthwise to expose the filling. Twist the two halves together, bringing them as tightly would as possible without breaking the layers. Fold the twist lengthwise in half so it’s about 9 inches look; place in prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until puffed but not double in size, about 1 hour
7. Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle remaining walnut crumble over babka dough. Bake 45 to 55 minutes until puffy and browned and a thermometer inserted in center reaches 185 F to 205 F.
8. Remove from oven and drizzle with sugar syrup. Cool completely before slicing.
Photo courtesy of California Walnuts