Sometimes it’s hard to believe we all share the same sun. Vacation sun is always bright, vivid, perfect. This summer’s lack of a true vacation forced me to savor our local sunshine. Fine for a lazy Sunday afternoon. But I couldn’t stop dreaming of last summer’s retreat on Anacapri. As if the beauty and culture weren’t enough, I was treated, poolside, to the best Rum Baba; perfectly light and sweet and sublimely soaked. It was an afternoon snack, presented unannounced with fresh cream and berries.
The babas I know here at home and learned to bake are denser and more buttery . Both are delicious, heavily soaked with a real rum syrup (no extract please). I will be obsessing over this light sponge version until my next trip back. In the meantime, this recipe for mini baba from “Small Sweet and Italian” makes a few dozen of these rich little treats. Soak and savor the sun wherever you are.
Baby Rum Babas
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark rum
Glaze ( optional)
Apricot preserves orange rind
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar, milk and yeast. Set aside to dissolve.
- In an electric mixer with wire whisk attachment, combine flour, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.Mix on low. Add yeast mixture on low speed and mix until blended.
- On medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one.
- Gradually mix in softened butter, one tablespoon at a time. Mixture should be smooth and similar to pancake batter.
- Cover and place in a warm space. Let rise until almost doubled, about 1/2 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Grease and flour or spray 36 mini muffin pans with non stick cooking spray.
- Fill pans, about 3/4 full. Cover and let rise till batter reaches the top of the pans, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven. Let babas cool slightly in pans before removing. Carefully remove and add babas to rum syrup. Let soak.
Make rum syrup
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Boil 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and stir in rum .
Glaze babas, if desired.
13. In a small pan, heat preserves over low heat. Strain. Brush babas and sprinkle with orange rind.