Tag Archives: babka

Friday Favorites: Pumpkin II

Okay, I give in.

I’m a real stickler for keeping pumpkin (and other fall flavors) off the blog until it’s actually fall—I’m not a year round pumpkin person and you’ll never see me breaking out my stash of Libby’s on August 1st. That said, insufferable as I am, I could really go for a Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Square right now. So, there will be no *new* pumpkin content until Wednesday, when it will finally be fall. Pre-existing pumpkin though? Don’t mind if I do.

If you’ve been here a while, you may know that I did a Friday Favorites for pumpkin three years ago, but I’ve made a lot of new pumpkin recipes since then, so let’s call this a companion piece. Enjoy these favorites from the archives! Oh, and come back Wednesday for a new pumpkin recipe, and in three years for Friday Favorites: Pumpkin III.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

These soft, chewy cookies have a double dose of pumpkin pie spice! It’s mixed into the pumpkin dough and then whisked into a sugary coating before baking. If you are a pumpkin spice purist, these are for you.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

If, however, you like your pumpkin extra-shareable and with a side of chocolate, go this route. Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies are vegan, due in large part to the fact that pumpkin makes a great egg substitute. From there, I just swapped the usual butter for coconut oil. Easy peasy.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies

I love a good blondie recipe! These are quick and easy and studded with chocolate chips. Can’t wait to make a batch in Maine in a few weeks.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

I’ve never loved Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but I will gladly throw pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and granulated espresso into cookie bars and then top them off with a thick layer of vanilla buttercream. What can I say? I’m filled with contradictions.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Babka

This, the one and only babka on this blog, was a labor of love. I made 18 of them before I got this recipe how I want it. This is so delicious, y’all. Buttery brioche dough is filled with pumpkin pie filling, twisted together, baked until golden and made glossy with a pumpkin spice syrup. Enjoy this yeasted cake for breakfast or a snack, or use it for a hyper-seasonal French toast.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Puff Pancakes are my all-time favorite weekend breakfast, so of course I had to make a pumpkin version! Super easy, super delicious. This is perfect for any lazy morning, or as a Thanksgiving breakfast.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread

This quick bread is actually a half-batch of my Pumpkin Bundt Cake swirled with cheesecake and baked in a loaf pan. It’s very simple and a stunner every time.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Pie with Toasted Pecan Crust {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Everyone needs a great pumpkin pie recipe, and while I have a more traditional one in the archives, I think this vegan, gluten-free version is my favorite. The filling is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar and the crust is made primarily of pecans, cornstarch and coconut oil, and the whole thing is really fantastic. Put it on your Thanksgiving menu, or maybe just make one for the hell of it.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Oat Dog Treats

Yes, I even have pumpkin for pups! These nutritious five ingredient treats come together in a food processor, and though they are for dogs, they are delicious for humans too. That’s right, I have to taste test everything on this blog. Even the dog treats.

Have you made any of these or any of my other pumpkin recipes? What’s your favorite thing to make with pumpkin? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: PumpkinFriday Favorites: Pumpkin

Pumpkin Babka

Pumpkin BabkaYou can say a lot of things about me, but you can’t say I’m not committed to this blog. If you’ve seen my Instagram stories lately, you know I’ve been on something of a mission—a mission that involved nine separate attempts at babka. Each batch makes two loaves, so that’s 18 babkas!

Last night, my sister made me promise that I wouldn’t make any more babka during the month of October. I think that’s fair.Pumpkin BabkaSome of you may be wondering what in the world I’m talking about, and I totally get it. I had never heard of babka before I moved to New York, but it wasn’t long before I became a fan of the chocolate variety. I mean, what’s not to love about soft yeasted cake swirled with chocolate?!Pumpkin BabkaCinnamon is another popular flavor of babka, but chocolate is definitely king. Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes famously called cinnamon babka “the lesser babka.” I wonder what she’d have to say about this Pumpkin Babka. I sort of hope she’d call it a “basic babka.” That is, if she had time to talk between bites of this buttery, pumpkin-filled treat!
Pumpkin BabkaLet’s talk dough. You’ll find all sorts of babka in NYC (and online). I’ve tried Israeli and Polish versions, and I’m sure there are more varieties. Some are flaky, some are feather-soft. Some have an exposed twist, while others look like any other bread until they are sliced. Some are baked in a ring; others are divided into loaf pans. I think this is why I had to make so many batches before I found a recipe I like.Pumpkin BabkaThis babka—my babka—is heavily adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s popular recipe. It starts with a soft brioche dough that is enriched with butter and eggs and accented with nutmeg and vanilla. I highly recommend making this dough in a stand mixer, although it can be made by hand. As each tablespoon of butter has to be incorporated individually, it’s nice to have a machine doing all that work.

The dough gets kneaded until it’s smooth before being refrigerated overnight. It won’t double in bulk the way most of my yeast doughs do, but it should puff up a little.Pumpkin BabkaPumpkin BabkaOn the day you want to bake your babkas, divide the dough in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll it into a large rectangle.Pumpkin BabkaPumpkin BabkaSpread on the filling—in this case, a simplified pumpkin pie filling—before rolling it into a cylinder.Pumpkin BabkaPumpkin BabkaPumpkin BabkaBriefly freeze the cylinder on a floured baking sheet before cutting off the ends and then slicing it in half lengthwise, thereby exposing the filling.Pumpkin BabkaPumpkin BabkaPumpkin BabkaCarefully twist the two halves together before placing your unrisen babka in a parchment-lined loaf pan.
Pumpkin BabkaRepeat this process with the other half of the dough before letting babkas rise for 1.5-2 hours, or until they peek (peak?) over the tops of their pans.Pumpkin BabkaPumpkin BabkaPumpkin BabkaBake the babkas at 350F for about half an hour (or longer, if you are using light-colored pans). When they’re done, they should be deep golden on top, and a skewer inserted in the center should meet no resistance at all. If you, like me, get nervous about things being done, you can use a thermometer to check for doneness. The interior should be 190F.Pumpkin BabkaAs soon as you remove the babkas from the oven, brush them with a good dose of pumpkin spice syrup. You may think the amount in the recipe is too much, but it isn’t. If you try to cut back on this, you’ll miss the sticky glossiness that makes babka a cake rather than just a swirled bread.Pumpkin BabkaAs a baker, I am supposed to tell you to wait to enjoy your Pumpkin Babkas until they have cooled completely. As a human, I’m going to tell you that it’s totally okay to let them cool halfway in their pans before tearing in.Pumpkin BabkaThere’s just something about the combination of warm, fluffy brioche and pumpkin and autumnal spices that are nearly impossible to resist. I’ve eaten A LOT of Pumpkin Babka over the last two weeks, so I know.Pumpkin BabkaOh, yeah. There’s nothing basic about this babka.Pumpkin Babka

Pumpkin Babka
heavily adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi
makes 2 babkas

Babka Dough:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast (not regular active dry yeast)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Pumpkin Filling:
1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin purée (I high recommend Libby’s here)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or fine sea salt

Pumpkin Spice Syrup:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

This is a time-consuming, two-day recipe with many steps. Please read the recipe at least twice before beginning.

The day before you want to bake, make the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and instant yeast. Fit the mixer with a dough hook. Add beaten eggs, water, and vanilla. Turn mixer on low (the “stir” or “2” setting on my Kitchen Aid mixer) and let run until a thick dough forms.

Cut softened butter into 12 one-tablespoon pieces. With the mixer running on low, add butter one piece at a time, waiting until the previous piece is incorporated before adding another. Once all butter has been added, turn mixer up to medium speed (“6” on my mixer) and let run for about 10 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, until the dough is smooth and pulling away from the bowl.

Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight). Dough will not double in size or rise very much during this time—don’t be alarmed.

The day you are going to bake, make the filling. Combine pumpkin, melted butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk everything together until well-combined. Set aside.

Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Remove dough from the refrigerator, punch it down and slice it in half. Return half the dough to the refrigerator.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Working with one half of the dough at a time, roll it out to an 11×14-inch rectangle (about 1/8-inch thick). Use an offset knife to spread half the filling onto the dough, leaving 1/2-inch bare on all sides. Starting from a short edge (an 11 inch edge), tightly roll the dough into a cylinder. Some filling may squish out—that’s okay.

Place cylinder on a floured baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes. Repeat rolling and filling process with remaining dough.

Shape the babkas. Remove one cylinder from the freezer. Slice 1/2-inch off each end. Slice the cylinder in half lengthwise. This will be messy.

Place both halves next to each other, cut-sides-up. Carefully twist them together. Place babka in one of the prepared pans. Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap. Repeat shaping process with remaining cylinder. Let babkas rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1.5-2 hours, or until they rise 1/2- to 1-inch above the pan walls at their highest point.

Bake babkas at 350F for 30-40 minutes. If you are using a dark pan, your babka should be done closer to the 30 minute mark. Test for doneness with a skewer—if it meets any resistance or comes out with dough on it, bake in five minute increments until neither of those things happens. To test for doneness with a thermometer, insert the end into center. If it reads at 190F or above, it’s done.

While babkas are baking, make pumpkin spice syrup. Combine sugar, water, and pumpkin pie spice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

Brush hot babkas with pumpkin spice syrup. Let babkas cool in their pans on a rack until they are cool enough to remove them with your hands. Let babkas continue to cool on a rack until they reach room temperature (if you can resist tearing in).

Slice and serve babka. Leftovers will keep tightly-wrapped in plastic at room temperature for up to 48 hours, or in the refrigerator for a few days.Pumpkin BabkaPumpkin BabkaPumpkin Babka