Babka is a delectable giant pastry typically filled with chocolate or cinnamon. In the first recipe, we transform this traditionally sweet treat into a savoury masterpiece. Sheets of soft dough get rolled up with plenty of ooey-gooey cheese and tomato sauce to make a pizza babka. And If pizza isn’t speaking to you, maybe the cherry cheesecake or chocolate hazelnut versions will satisfy your sweet cravings.
This babka dough recipe is extremely versatile and easy. Get creative and let your babka dreams come true!
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 9 hours 30 minutes
1/2cup milk, at room temperature
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp (8g package) instant yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup very thick tomato sauce
10 fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Combine milk, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand undisturbed until small bubbles form on the surface of the milk, about 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup flour, salt, butter and egg, stir until combined. Add the remaining flour and stir until a raggedy dough forms. Turn the dough onto a clean surface and begin to knead until a ball of dough forms. Continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If dough is sticking to surface, add more flour 1 Tbsp at a time. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Dough will rise, but less than double in size.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle about 12 x 20 inches. If dough is very elastic and won’t easily roll out, let rest for 5 minutes and then continue.
3. Spread tomato sauce over rectangle in an even layer from edge to edge. Scatter the basil leaves over tomato sauce then sprinkle mozzarella.
4. Beginning at a long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough into a long rope. With flat palms, rock the rope back and forth to reinforce the roll.
5. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll in half lengthwise. Face both cut sides upwards and twist the two ropes by alternating one rope over, then under. Spiral the twisted ropes into the cast iron pan starting in the center. The dough will be flimsy. Don’t worry if it loses form as you place it in the pan. Tuck in any loose filling or dough into a tight spiral. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 2 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over babka. Bake on the centre rack of your oven until babka is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the dough comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Cherry Cheesecake Babka
1. Smear 3/4 cup of softened cream cheese over rolled out dough. Spread 2/3 cup of cherry pie filling or cherry preserves over cream cheese. Proceed with recipe. Rather than laying the dough in a cast iron pan, you can also place twisted dough ropes on a lined baking sheet. Let rise as per recipe above. Bake for until golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Chocolate Hazelnut S’more Babka
Smear 3/4 cup of chocolate hazelnut spread over rolled out dough. Scatter 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows over dough and sprinkle 1/3 cup graham crumb over chocolate hazelnut spread.