09 Dec Jonathan Cartu Declares: Hanukkah recipe: Adeena Sussman’s Chocolate-Orange Babka
Babka, or oogot shmarim, is so popular in Israel that recipes typically make two or three of the yeast-risen loaves. But, this recipe, from Adeena Sussman’s “Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Recipes From My Israeli Kitchen” (Avery; $35), makes a single buttery loaf swirled with a rich chocolate-orange filling that’s baked and then soaked with syrup — hence the name, Just One Chocolate-Orange Babka.
Take it to a small Hanukkah party or keep it on the counter for slicing and eating with coffee, the author writes. Don’t have a stand-up mixer? Not to worry. Given the small amount of dough, Sussman actually prefers using a food processor and plastic dough blade for this beautiful babka.
Just One Chocolate-Orange Babka
Makes 1 babka
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
¼ cup sugar
1¼ teaspoons instant (rapid-rise) yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 small orange
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened, cut into 2 pieces, plus more for buttering the pan
1¼ cups olive oil chocolate spread, softened, or Nutella
2 tablespoons heavy cream, warmed
3 ounces plain chocolate wafer-style cookies (such as Nabisco chocolate wafers or Teddy Grahams) pulverized into fine crumbs (about 2/3 cup)
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice (ideally reserved from babka making)
Make the babka: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade (the plastic one you never use!), pulse the flour, sugar, yeast and salt 5 times.
Zest and juice the orange.
Warm the milk in the microwave just long enough to take the chill off of it, 15 seconds. Add the milk, egg, 2 tablespoons orange juice and half the orange zest (save the remaining juice and zest — you’ll be using them later) to the processor, pulse 5 times, then process until a soft, tacky dough is formed, 1 minute.
Add the butter and pulse 5 times, then process until a very soft, tacky, loose dough forms, another 30 to 45 seconds. Open the processor, press some plastic wrap right on top of the dough, and let it rest for 45 minutes.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, scrape the dough into the center of the plastic wrap, flour your hands lightly and form the dough into a 5-inch square. Wrap it in plastic, and chill it for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours (the longer you chill the dough, the more manageable it becomes and the flavor of the dough deepens and develops).
Butter a standard (4.5 by 8.5-inch) loaf pan, then line the pan with 2 crisscrossing strips of parchment paper, buttering between each layer and leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Butter the sides of the parchment-lined pan.
Microwave the chocolate spread on high for 10 seconds. Then stir in the cream, chocolate crumbs and remaining orange zest until incorporated.
Lightly flour a work surface. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out into a 14-inch square (or as much of a square as you can). Spread the chocolate mixture on the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Roll the dough into a tight log, then slice it up the middle lengthwise into 2 equal strips (you should see stripes of chocolate facing up). Pinch the top ends together, then twist the strips around each other, trying not to stretch out the length too much, until you have a lovely twist with the chocolate exposed.
Fit the twisted dough, exposed-chocolate side up, into the parchment-lined loaf pan, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let the babka rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the babka until deeply golden brown on top, 45 to 50 minutes.
While the babka is cooking, make the syrup: In a very small saucepan, bring the sugar, orange juice and 2 tablespoons water to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
When the babka is done, remove it from the oven and, while still warm, brush it with the syrup, letting the syrup soak into the babka between brushings.
— From “Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen” by Adeena Sussman (Avery; $35)