The famous cake Baba was an invention of the former King of Poland and Duke of Lorraine, Stanislas Leszczynski. During his exile at Lunéville in 1760, finding a raisin brioche too dry and hard, he had the idea of soaking it with Malaga wine. So he named it as “Ali Baba”, in memory of the character of the Thousand and One Nights.
In 1835, The Stohrer patisserie in Paris replaced the Malaga wine for rum syrup, calling it now as "Rum Baba". Then in around 1845, Julien Brothers, Parisian pâtissiers, adapted the baba recipe using a ring cake mold instead of the simple cylindrical form. They filled the center with pastry cream and fruits. They called it Savarin, which became a classic French pastry. They chose this name in homenage to the famous gastronome Brillat-Savarin.
I used a Savarin recipe from the book Ladurée Sucreé. It consists of a buttery cake soaked with rum citrus syrup and decorated with whipped cream and a fresh fruit. I enjoyed this classic dessert chilled with a fresh strawberry and I loved it!
from the book Ladurée Sucré
½ oz / 12g fresh yeast
2 tbsp (20g) water
2 cups/ 250 g cake flour
1 pinch of fleur de sel (or other coarse sea salt)
1 ¼ tbsp (15g) granulated sugar
5 tbsp / 75 g butter + 1 ½ tbsp butter for molds
4 ¼ cups / 1 litre water
1 ¼ cups / 250 granulated sugar
1 lemon, unwaxed
1 orange, unwaxed
1 vanilla bean
½ cup / 120 ml aged rum (rhum agricole if possible)
+ ½ cup /125 ml aged rum for finish
Sweetened whipped cream
2 ¾ cups / 325 g sweetened whipped cream
Seasonal fruits for decoration
Equipment: 8 savarin molds, 2 ¾ inch/ 7 cm diameter rings
Piping bag without tip
Piping bag fitted with a 1/2 – inch / 10 mm star tip
If you have a stand mixer, prepare the dough in the bowl of the mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. You can also mix the ingredients in a food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces and allow to soften at room temperature. Break the yeast into small pieces with your fingers and dilute in the water at room temperature. In a large bowl, place the flour, salt and sugar. Add the diluted yeast and 2 eggs., and start to mix with a wooden spatula until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl again, and repeat this process with the lat egg. Incorporate the softened butter and continue to work in to the dough until it once again pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the dough with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to double in volume at room temperature (approximately 1 hour).
Preheat the oven to 340°F/ 170° C / gas mark 3.
Butter the molds. Transfer dough to the piping bag without tip and fill molds. Allow the dough to double in volume and rise up to the edges of the molds. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Pour the water and sugar into a saucepan. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of the lemon and orange (avoiding the bitter white pith). Juice both citrus fruits. With a sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the tip, scrape the interior to remove the seeds. Add the vanilla pod, vanilla seeds, pressed citrus juice and zest to the saucepan with the water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, strain through a fine mesh sieve to discard all solids, and add the rum.
Transfer the syrup to a baking dish that is large enough to hold the baked savarins. Turn pastries around in the syrup, dipping the tops and bottoms, until well soaked. Place a wire rack on a large dish or rimmed baking sheet, and place savarins on the rack. Reheat the remaining syrup and when hot, drizzle over the cakes several times. Allow to cool.
Place savarins on a serving platter and drizzle generously with rum. Using the piping bag fitted with a star tip, top each cake with sweetened whipped cream. Decorate with seasonal fruits.