It’s that time of year where I find myself with an awful lot of jam & preserves knocking around the kitchen (often piled high in dark corners or precariously balanced onto shelves). Whilst they will last perfectly well stored in this way for many months to come, occasionally look at the piles of jars & get an urge to try & use it all up.
They’re perfect spread thickly my toast, crumpets or bagels in the mornings, dolloped into a big bowl of yogurt, or spread thinly inside a delicate layer cake but sometimes, I just fancy something a little bit different.
Usually my cravings for something different end up with me experimenting with & making one of two things… cake or bread! Today isn’t any different (not even sorry). My most recently filled jars of jam are a sweet & seeded raspberry made from my summer haul of raspberries from the garden. The colour alone of this jam is something to be admired, glistening hues of maroon & magenta, something that clearly had to be made the most of in my bake.
The perfect contrast to my striking raspberry jam would have to be something plain & neutral in colour… this is where we land on bread, or to be more specific, babka! A swirled, sweet dough stuffed with ripples of bold raspberry jam. It doesn’t end there though, worried that my jam might be a little too much for my dough to hold (I had visions of it oozing & pouring out of every possible crevice), my jam needed a helping hand, a cementing parter to not only help it stay put but also to compliment it’s sharp sweetness.
What goes better with a sharp, sweet raspberry than chocolate? So, I reached for the jar of Nutella, partly because I love Nutella, partly because I’m lazy & it’s already spreadable! The resulting babka worked like a dream, a light, sweet dough, swirled with a contract of chocolate Nutella & raspberry jam.
It looks impressive but the technique if very simple once you know how. My light, billowy sweet dough recipe is really easy to work with & therefore quite forgiving too. This loaf keeps really well in a tin for a few days.. but I don’t think it’ll be around for that long!
NUTELLA & RASPBERRY BABKA
For the dough:
- 350g strong white bread flour
- 10g fast acting yeast
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 100g butter, softened & cubed
- 200ml milk
For the filling:
- 135g Nutella
- 80g raspberry jam
- 125g caster sugar
- 75ml water
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast & sugar
- Gently heat the milk until lukewarm either in a small saucepan or in the microwave
- Whisk together the warmed milk & egg
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients & pour in the
- Mix until everything it wet & well combined
- Adding one cube of butter at a time, work & mix the butter into the dough until it is fully incorporated
- Empty the dough out onto a floured work surface & knead for 10 minutes (or for 5 minutes using a dough hook in a stand mixer) until it is smooth & elastic, it will be a loose, sticky dough
- Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm or a bag for life & leave to rise for about an hour to an hour & a half, until it has doubled in size
- Once your dough has risen tip it out onto a floured work surface & knock back the dough (knead out the air)
- Roll or stretch your dough out into a rectangle, roughly 40x30cm in size (so long as rectangular don’t worry too much)
- Tack down the corners of the dough & one of its long-sided edges, to keep it in place & prevent the dough from springing back
- For the filling, begin by spreading the Nutella into 3 large rectangular blocks, running from one short edge to the other of the dough, leaving a gap of around 1 inch on either side
- Next, spread the raspberry jam in the empty rectangles between the Nutella ones until you have a block striped filling
- Taking one of the long edges of the dough, carefully roll up the dough to encase the filling, pressing down gently to seal the edges
- Place the rolled up dough into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes
- Once chilled, remove the dough & lay it out onto a lightly floured worksuface
- Beginning about 1.5 inches away from the top edge of the roll, use a sharp knife to slice along the length of the dough to create two long pieces, both still wattached together at the top
- Twist the two lengths around so that the filling is facing upwards
- Now, carefully twist together the two lengths of dough, placing one under & one over each other (as if you were creating a plait but with only two strands) & pinch the edges together to seal
- Place the twisted dough length into a floured 2lb loaf tin, tucking the length edges underneath (depending on how large you rolled the dough originally, you may need to squish it in a little)
- Cover the dough with some cling film or my preference, a bag for life & leave to prove for 1 hour – 1hour, 30 minutes until well risen & doubled in size
- When proved, bake the babka in the oven at 180C for 50 minutes, if if starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil for the final 15 minutes of baking
- Whilst the babka is baking, make the syrup by placing the sugar & water into a small saucepan & bring to a simmer
- Continue to simmer until all of the sugar has dissolved & set aside for later
- Once the babka has baked, remove from the oven & brush all over with the syrup mixture
- Allow to cool for 20 minutes in it’s tin before removing & placing on a cooling rack to fully cool before slicing