I have seen and been interested in baking Jewish style babkas for some time, they just look so appetising with all that chocolate swirling around inside and that crunchy streusel like topping. Can one improve on perfection? Probably not….. but I did want to put my own twist on the “standard” chocolate babka.
So here is, a babka stuffed with lemon curd and cream cheese. The layers are less defined as neither the curd nor the cream cheese stand out as well as the chocolate against the bread dough….. but I find the combination of lemon and cheese absolutely divine.
Making a babka isn’t that difficult, yet the results can be spectacular. In the recipe below you will find instructions for two different options; one using a bread maker and one where the dough is made by hand. The lemon curd can be bought or home made. If you want to make your own lemon curd please click here.
Lemon Curd & Cream Cheese Babka
Ingredients for 1 standard loaf:
½ tsp Vanilla extract
315g Bread flour
1 tsp Yeast
Pinch of salt
200g Cream cheese
2 tbsp Sugar
1 Egg yolk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
½ jar Lemon Curd
2 tbsp Sugar
4½ tsp Brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg white (from above)
Pinch of salt
Take all refrigerated ingredients out of the fridge and leave to reach room temperature.
To make the dough by hand:
Put the milk into a bowl. Just melt the butter then beat into the milk together with the vanilla and the egg.
Put flour, sugar, yeast and salt into another bowl and stir to mix. Make a well in the centre then pour in the milk mixture.
Stir the milk into the flour by hand. With your open hand and separated fingers, swirl your hand around the bowl to form a thick sticky mixture. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. You shouldn’t need any more flour, the dough with come together and the stickiness will disappear.
To make the dough in a bread-maker:
Put the milk into a bowl. Just melt the butter then beat into the milk together with the vanilla and the egg. Put into the bread-maker bucket. Add in all the other dough ingredients in the order shown. Always try and separate the yeast and salt putting each in a separate corner of the bucket. Set the machine to the dough cycle.
Meanwhile, make the Cream Cheese Filling. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth and lump-free. Add the egg yolk, reserving the white for later, vanilla extract and salt, and stir to combine. Set aside at room temperature.
Make the topping. Stir together the dry ingredients then rub in the butter until the mixture comes together into large, coarse crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
When the dough has risen:
Lightly oil a 9″ x 5″ (23cm x 13cm) standard loaf tin.
Roll out the pastry to 20″ x 10″ (50cm x 25cm). Spread over the cheese filling then the lemon curd leaving half an inch along the edges.
Carefully fold over about an inch (2cm) of dough on both long sides. Fold over towards the middle using a spatula or dough scraper. The dough can be rolled up but I find it tends to push the filling towards the middle!
Keep folding over inch wide strips from either long side until they meet in the middle. You should now have a long double “roll” of dough.
Now from the short sides, fold just short of a third of the roll over into the middle then fold the other side up over the middle so that the roll is a third of the length it was.
Put upside down into the loaf tin, so that the smooth bottom is now at the top.
Beat the egg white with the salt to make the egg wash and paint the top of the loaf.
Cover and leave for a couple of hours until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
Paint the top of the loaf with the egg wash again, then scatter the topping over the top. Press down a little to ensure it stays in place.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until done. Leave for half an hour before taking out of the tin. You may need to run a knife around the edge of the tin to separate the topping from the sides of the mould.
Well perhaps this week’s recipe is a little more difficult than others, but it is well worth giving it a go. You could also change the filling ingredients, changing back to the more typical chocolate or perhaps sticking with the cream cheese option but using your favourite jam instead of lemon curd. Either way, please let me know how you get on!
tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml
tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge