I have wanted to make Babka for ages and was finally ready to get around to it the other day. I made the dough with the best of intentions and then got busy and had to shove it into the fridge. Two days later my brain switched on and I remembered my Babka. One hour later I ended up with these. I've decided to just call these pastries as they are so far from the Babka I had really wanted to make. Traditional Babka is an Eastern and Central European cake that is usually made around Easter. The Babka most often seen here in North America (at least in my experience) is the twisted chocolate bread, which I will make for ya'll one day I promise! I decided to go with a cream cheese filling as the Babka dough smelled like the Danish dough my father makes and my favourite Danish is cream cheese with a little lemon zest. I had a leftover Terry's chocolate orange from Christmas that I grated up in the Cuisinart but you could use any dark chocolate. This dough made me very nervous as it rises verrrry slowly and doesn't rise as much as a regular yeast bread. I got the recipe for the Babka dough from Peter Reinhart's "Artisan breads every day", which is a great bread resource.
Chocolate and orange-cream cheese pastries
1 tbsp instant yeast
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 tsp orange juice
3 oz dark chocolate, grated
To make the dough, heat up the milk until lukewarm. Add the yeast and whisk together. Let sit for 5 minutes, until frothy.
Meanwhile using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well until very light in colour and creamy. Scrape down the sides once again and mix for a few seconds.
Switch to a dough hook if using a stand mixer and all at once, add the flour, salt, and milk mixture. Mix on low for 5 minutes until the dough is soft and not sticky. If the dough is a bit sticky add a small amount of flour.
Place the dough in a bowl and cover. Let sit in a warm spot to rise for about 2 hours.
While your dough rises make the orange-cream cheese. Place the cream cheese, sugar, orange zest and orange juice in a bowl and mix until creamy and free of lumps. Set aside until you are ready to fill your pastries.
Place your chocolate in a cuisinart and chop until it is coarsely grated. Alternatively, chop your chocolate with a knife. Set aside.
Grease an 8 inch cake pan and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Break off pieces of dough and form into large golf ball sized rounds. Place each ball in the pan and press your thumb into the center to make a well.
Fill each well with the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle the dough with the grated chocolate. Cover and let rise for about one hour.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.