Chocolate Babka Loaf
This takes some time and effort, but is well worth every second (and calorie). Feel free to flavour your babka with whatever you like... white chocolate, spices etc.
120ml (4fl oz) milk
1 x 7g sachet fastacting yeast
300g (10oz) strong bread flour
40g (1½oz) caster sugar 1 large egg
1tsp vanilla paste
70g (2½oz) butter, cut into 3cm cubes
500g loaf tin
For The Filling
120g (4oz) butter
80g (2¾oz) dark muscovado sugar
100g (3½oz) dark chocolate, melted
100g (3½ oz) pecan nuts, roughly chopped
For The Glaze
50g (1½ oz) sugar 50ml (1½fl oz) water
1 Heat the milk in a saucepan until warm – do not boil or simmer. remove from the heat, pour into a jug and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle over the yeast and leave for 5-10 mins until foamy.
2 in a mixer bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar. in a small bowl, beat the egg and vanilla together. Add the milk mixture and egg mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing using a dough hook, and knead on a low speed until a smooth, elastic dough has formed. Beat in the cubes of butter, a couple at a time, until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth and leave at room temperature to prove for 5 hrs, or overnight, until doubled in size.
3 To make the filling, beat together all the ingredients except the pecans. roll out the proved dough to form a 45 x 25cm rectangle. Spread over the filling, leaving a few cm around the border. Sprinkle over the nuts. From the long side of the rectangle, roll up the dough. Pinch together the edges to seal.
4 Cut down the length of the middle of the cylinder of dough, leaving about 5cm intact at one end. From this end, plait the two strands around each other, keeping the exposed filling facing up. ease into the loaf tin (it may be a snug fit), cover lightly with clingfilm and leave to rise for another 1½-2 hrs.
5 Preheat oven to 170°C or Gas Mark 3½, then bake for 45-50 mins until cooked through – the dough should sound hollow when tapped. (Check the babka after 25 mins and cover with foil if the chocolate is getting too dark.).
6 To make the glaze, heat the sugar and water in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 mins and remove from the heat. As soon as the babka is out of the oven, brush over the glaze. When cool, slice to serve.
485 calories, 14g fat (4g saturated),