PERFECT. THANKSGIVING. DESSERT.
Now that that's out of the way... I find babka really easy to make and I don't think I'm some sort of baking guru or anything. So tonight on Instagram stories I set out to show people how easy it is to make. I didn't record the making of the dough (which is pretty easy - throw it all in the KitchenAid,) but rather the assembly part which I believe can seem daunting. If you're considering making this recipe I encourage you to watch all 6 minutes of it (though please keep in mind that I'm wearing zero makeup.) Watching someone assemble babka is waaaaaayyyy easier than reading about assembling babka and I trust you'll feel like the confident babka god/ess that you are after watching.
Makes 2 loaves
For the dough:
2 packets instant yeast
4 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
zest of 1/2 an orange
1/2 cup room temperature water + 1-2 tablespoons extra, if needed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon fine salt
2/3 cup butter or non-dairy butter like Earth Balance
Neutral oil for greasing
For the filling:
1 eight ounce can of pumpkin puree
2/3 cup cream cheese or non-dairy cream cheese, like daiya
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar + more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons cinnamon + more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons cardamom
For the syrup:
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the Streusel topping:
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoon butter or non-dairy butter
1. Make the dough: Combine flour, sugar, yeast and zest into a bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, if using one. Mix well and add in eggs and 1/2 cup water and continue to mix until this comes together. If the dough doesn't form and remains crumbly, add in water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a mass. With a mixer on low add in salt and the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until the mix is fully incorporated. Knead the dough for another 10 minutes adding flour every time the dough sticks to your hands or the sides of the bowl. At the end of 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth enough that you can play with it without it sticking to your hands.
2. Coat a large bowl with oil (the bowl you used to mix works well) and round the dough in the bowl to grease the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, up to 2 days.
3. Once you're ready to assemble your babka make the filling by combining all the filling ingredients in a blender or food processor and blending until fully combined.
4. Grease two 9x4 loaf pans, line with parchment and regrease. Preheat oven to 350° F.
5. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut in half. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the first half out into a rectangle. The dough should be about 1 foot long by 1.5 feet wide.
6. Using a pastry brush, brush the filling over the rolled out dough, leaving just a small border at the width. Make sure the dough is fully covered in the filling, but don't overfill as it will start to seep out as you roll it up. Once the dough is evenly coated in the filling, sprinkle a little brown sugar and cinnamon over the filling.
7. Roll the dough from the width side (the 1.5 foot side) into a tight cigar shape. Once you form a cigar cut the entire babka down the middle lengthwise to form two separate logs. The filling will be exposed. Form the babka by folding one piece over the other, cut side up (with the filling showing.) Transfer the formed babka into the loaf pan, making an S with the ends and tucking them up. Repeat this process with the second half of the dough.
8. Transfer the babkas to the oven to bake for 35 - 45 minutes, until a knife down the center comes out clean. If you're making these ahead of time and plan to reheat them, I suggest undercooking the babka a bit so that it doesn't overcook once you reheat it. For me, 35 minutes is the sweet spot.
9. While the babkas bake make the syrup and topping.
10. Make the syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolved. Once dissolved it will look like water. At that point remove from heat.
11. Make the crumble by mixing sugar, flour and butter in a bowl with your hands until it forms a crumbly texture.
12. When the babka comes out of the oven immediately brush the syrup over the loaves using a pastry brush. Follow by sprinkling the crumble over the babka