- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1/2-ounce)
- 2 cups bread flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Pinch salt
- 4 ounces butter, 1 stick, melted
- Rum Syrup, recipe follows
Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes while you butter and flour a large baba mold or bundt pan. Once the dough has rested, place the dough in the prepared baba mold or cake pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof in a warm, draft-free place until they have nearly reached the tops of the mold, about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the mold on a sheet pan and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 30 minutes, or until the top of the baba is golden brown and the sides have begun to pull away from the sides of the pan slightly. Prepare the soaking liquid while the babas are baking. Remove the babas from the oven and cool on wire racks for 5 to 10 minutes.
For the Syrup:
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3 3/4 cups water
21/2 cups granulated sugar
2 lemons, zested (4 teaspoons)
2 oranges, zested (2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup dark rum
In a 1-quart saucepan, combine the vanilla bean and seeds, water, sugar, lemon and orange zests. Bring the contents to a boil and stir with a wooden spoon to ensure that the sugar will dissolve. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for 30 minutes. Once cooled, add all but 2 tablespoons of the rum to the syrup. Reserve the remaining 2 tablespoons on the side. Strain the syrup through a fine meshed sieve and discard the solids.
Set the wire rack that the baba is cooling on over a sheet pan. Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the top of the baba and, when the baba is just warm, pour the just warm syrup over the baba and allow to sit until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Turn the baba out onto the cooling rack and allow to drain over the sheet pan for 1/2 hour. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of rum over the top of the baba and serve, with whipped cream and seasonal fresh fruits. You can also pour more rum over the babas, if you so desire.
The baba can be stored, loosely covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for a day, if necessary.