AT A GLANCE
"This is a real adults' indulgence thanks to the rum," says Hird. "We use rhum agricole, which is made from freshly squeezed cane juice instead of molasses - it's got a lot more spice and is less sugary. Look out for it in good liquor shops and online."
|01||Warm milk in a saucepan over medium heat to 38C, then combine half with yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk to dissolve yeast.|
|02||Attach dough hook and add flour and sugar to yeast mixture then mix on medium setting until combined (2-3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time until incorporated and dough is smooth, then add butter a little at a time until dough is smooth and elastic, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Incorporate remaining milk and rum-soaked raisins. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size (1-1½ hours).|
|03||Preheat oven to 210C. Knock back dough, then half-fill six 170ml-capacity buttered round stainless-steel moulds (6.5cm diameter x 6cm high) with dough (70gm each), flatten with the back of a teaspoon and smooth with a damp finger. Cover with a tea towel and prove until doubled in size (30 minutes). Bake until puffed and golden around the sides (15-20 minutes).|
|04||Meanwhile, for spiced syrup, combine sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, zested rind, spices and 500ml water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stir to dissolve and add rum to taste.|
|05||Turn hot babas out of moulds and place in warm syrup in batches to soak until they have absorbed syrup to the core, turning to coat (3-4 minutes). Place on a rack to drain excess syrup and cool (30 minutes). The babas can also be cooled then frozen for later use; simply defrost in the fridge overnight and warm in a low oven.|
|06||Meanwhile, for baked rhubarb, reduce oven to 175C. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and allow to steep for an hour to release some of the juice from the rhubarb. Pour the fruit and juice into a non-reactive baking dish, spread out evenly and bake, covered with foil until just cooked (15-20 minutes). Set aside to cool.|
|07||Warm marmalade and 1 tsp water in a small saucepan over low heat, add sultanas and their rum, then brush over babas and serve with vanilla cream or crème fraîche, seasonal berries, cherries, or fruits and baked rhubarb.|
LAURENT CAZOTTES GOUTTE DE MAUZAC ROSE EAU DE VIE.