Prune and Armagnac babas
- January 2008
- Makes 12
- Takes 40 minutes to make, 25 minutes to bake, plus 2 hours proving
These babas are a twist on the classic – using Armagnac-soaked prunes to give texture and taste to the rich dough. Serve at the end of a celebratory dinner or with afternoon tea.
- 7.2g (4.1g saturated)
- 53.8g (37.3g sugars)
- 500g soft, ready-to-eat pitted prunes
- 175ml Armagnac
- 75g unsalted butter, cubed and softened, plus extra, for greasing
- 225g strong white bread flour, plus
- extra for dusting
- 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
- 4 tbsp milk, warmed
- 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
For the syrup
- 250g golden caster sugar
- Coarsely grated zest of 1 orange
- 75ml Armagnac
- Put the prunes in a small pan with the Armagnac and warm over a medium heat, until just simmering. Set aside.
- Grease 12 baba or dariole moulds, then dust with flour. Put the yeast in a bowl with the milk and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until frothy. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, remaining sugar and the yeast mixture. Mix together to make a soft dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, gradually mixing in the butter until smooth and elastic.
- Using a slotted spoon, add half the prunes to the dough and knead in. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces and roll into balls. Place 1 in each of the moulds and put in a large roasting tin. Cover the tin with lightly greased cling film and leave in a warm place for 2 hours, or until well risen.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Remove the cling film and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4 and cook for a further 15 minutes, until golden.
- Meanwhile, put the sugar, zest and 150ml cold water in a pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the Armagnac and remaining prune mixture.
- Remove the babas from the oven and drizzle over half of the syrup. Cool for about 5-10 minutes, before turning out on a wire rack to cool. Douse the babas with the remaining syrup and serve with the Armagnac prunes. Decorate with redcurrants, if you like.
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