Angelico: a plated dessert

I have really wanted to try tackling baba and hazelnut toffee tears, so I figured, why not combine the two together? Rum baba is a French and Italian classic. It is a yeast-leavened cake, similar to a brioche, that it soaked in a rum based syrup and stuffed with piped cream. With baba, you might think that it sounds weird or almost too bread-like for it to be good in dessert. However, that simple syrup makes a world of difference, as does the cream. The syrup not only soaks into the cake, leaving it with a good amount of sweetness and taking away the “yeasty” quality of it, but it honestly has the consistency of a doughnut that has just been dipped into coffee. Doesn’t that sound a LOT more appetizing than yeasty, bready cake dipped in a boozy syrup?

I opted to switch the rum out with Frangelico(hazelnut liquor) instead, just so that I could tie the hazelnut theme in through the dish. I knew that with that soaking syrup, I could also build more flavor and components off of that, which was why I included a poached pear in this dessert, just for a fruity component, but also, just another vessel for that simple syrup to soak into. Just so simple syrup and toffee can have a bit more balance on the same plate together, I included whipped skyr, an Icelandic yogurt(suggested to me first by my friend from college, Ellen!), just to add that tartness, but also a creamy component, in lieu of the cream one would traditionally pipe into the baba. I love how skyr has more body than normal yogurt, so it adds more richness to the dessert, perfect for the seasonality of it.

Makes 10 servings:
For the baba:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 packet active-dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Melt down your butter first, and then whisk into your eggs. Then add in your sugar and yeast and allow that mixture to sit for 10 minutes. From there, mix in your flour. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into silicone bar molds. filling them about 2/3 to 3/4 the way full. Allow the cakes to sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes to an hour at room temperature to allow them to proof. The tops of the baba should already have risen past the top of the mold at that point. From there, bake at 375 degrees F for 18 minutes. Cool completely before unmolding. For presentation purposes, I do remove the little bread top, but that is entirely optional and up to you.

For the Frangelico syrup:
3 tablespoons Frangelico
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups muscovado sugar
a pinch of salt
1 cinnamon quill
2 cardamom pods

Bring everything to a simmer. Once sugar is dissolved, and the liquid has been reduced by half, strain out the solids. Allow to cool down. You will be using this syrup first for the pears, and then the rest for the baba.

For the poached pears:
3 Bosc pears
Frangelico syrup

Peel, halve, and core the pears, then halve them again to be quarter wedges. Simmer down in the syrup for about 15-20 minutes. Take out and allow them to cool slightly before transferring them into a smaller container. Depending on the size of the pear, you may even need to cut them in half lengthwise into 8ths. You do not want the pear slices to be bigger than the baba. Reserve the syrup and allow that to cool down too. You will dip the baba into this after you’ve poached the pears in it, just so that the baba soaks up all of those flavors.

For the hazelnut tears:
16 hazelnuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
a pinch of salt

Bring sugar, salt, water, and corn syrup to a boil. Using either a fork or skewer, drill the point into the individual hazelnuts. Once the sugar begins to brown, take off heat and dip the outside of the pot into cold water to stop the cooking of the sugar. Carefully dip and enrobe the hazelnuts into the sugar and allow them to sit, hanging off of the side of a counter, with the fork/skewer being weighed down, until they cool completely. Carefully remove the skewer or fork from the hazelnut and store in an airtight container until you plan on using them.

To garnish:
Skyr yogurt
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the ingredients and transfer to a piping bag.

To garnish:
Edible flower petals

Slice the pear to fan it out. Pipe the skyr onto the baba and around it, and garnish with your poached pear, hazelnut tears, and flower petals.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

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