Amalfi rum baba



I first made this ex­trav­a­gant drunken sponge dessert with Gen­naro [Con­taldo] back when I was a teenager. I love the con­cept of re­hy­drat­ing sponge with flavoured syrup to make it even more sump­tu­ous and de­li­cious. En­joy. SERVES 20 2 HOURS 50 MIN­UTES, PLUS PROV­ING & SOAK­ING OVERNIGHT BABA 1 x 7g sa­chet of dried yeast 250g un­salted but­ter, plus ex­tra for greas­ing 12 large free-range eggs 750g self-rais­ing flour, plus ex­tra for dust­ing SYRUP 500g golden caster sugar 750ml limon­cello 1 vanilla pod 1 cin­na­mon stick 4 cloves 4 fresh bay leaves 2 sprigs of fresh rose­mary 3 or­anges 3 lemons

❄ Cover the yeast with 100ml of luke­warm wa­ter. Melt the but­ter, then let it cool a bit while you whisk the eggs in a large bowl un­til pale and fluffy. Still whisk­ing, grad­u­ally pour in the melted but­ter, then the flour, a pinch of sea salt and the yeast mix­ture, switch­ing to a rub­ber spat­ula when it gets too stiff. After 5 min­utes it should be thick, smooth and shiny. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a draught-free place for 40 min­utes.

❄ Un­cover the baba bat­ter and mix vig­or­ously for 3 min­utes so it’s loose and shiny. Gen­er­ously but­ter a deep 24cm Bundt tin and pour in the bat­ter. Prove again, un­cov­ered, for a fur­ther 40 min­utes, or un­til the bat­ter sits just above the edge of the tin. Pre­heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2.

❄ Gen­tly place the baba in the oven for 1 hour, or un­til golden. Mean­while, for the syrup, place the sugar and limon­cello in a pan. Split the vanilla pod length­ways and add with the cin­na­mon, cloves, bay and rose­mary. Use a speed-peeler to add strips of peel from the or­anges and lemons, then squeeze all their juice into a mea­sur­ing jug. Top up to 500ml with wa­ter, then pour into the pan. Boil and re­duce by half to a syrupy con­sis­tency.

Leave the baba to cool, then put your knife at the tin’s edge and trim off the ex­cess sponge (per­fect in my Limon­cello Tiramisù on page 41). Grad­u­ally feed the sponge with the syrup, mak­ing sure you get down the sides, then leave overnight. The next day, re­lease it on to a cake stand or plat­ter. I like to fill the hole with sweet­ened ri­cotta, mas­car­pone or even ice cream, top with sea­sonal berries and dust with ic­ing sugar be­fore serv­ing. NUTRI­TION PER SERV­ING 446 kcal; 14.4g fat (7.6g sat­u­rated); 7.8g pro­tein; 55.4g carbs; 27.6g sug­ars; 0.5g salt; 1.2g fi­bre ➤

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