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Citrus And Cardamom Rum Babas

Citrus Babas-Copyright©Tartelette I have been under a shower of SHF citrus entries this past week and although I need to (happily) bathe in over 100 entries in the coming days, nothing would make me happier. Thank you in advance to all of you who participated and remember I will accept a few stragglers if you come to the party with an extra box of lemon sour candies! Before I proceed with these lovely Rum Babas, I need to announce the winner of the Cherry Blossom Extract: Congratulations to Suzana of Home Gourmets ! Please email me with your mailing address so both Rachael and I can get the 2 bottles on your way.
When I was little, I loved going with my mom to the bakery in town after church on Sundays, helping her select the little mini pastries that would end up on a dessert tray after lunch at my grandparent’s. There always was a selection of different flavored eclairs and cream puffs, a couple of mini fruit tarts and Napoleons and a couple of mini rum babas. I used to repeat that name on the way there and on the way back to the house: "baba au rum…baba au rum…baba au rum…" I just found its resonance funny and comforting, thoughts of roundness and "plentiness" and exotic places. Except for one thing: even though I was already allowed to drink a little wine drowned with a lot of water on Sundays, I was not allowed more than one bite of the rum babas because they were drenched in alcohol…and drenched they were (no wonder our baker was a happy man!).

As soon as I started working in bakeries and put in charge of babas production, I figured I was old enough to eat them too. I had my share of this traditional pastry: a yeast based cake, with a very spongy and delicate texture all bathed in a orange and rum flavored syrup. Nothing else…no gilding the lilies with whipped cream or fruit. Although it is a little more on the bready side than a cake, there is nothing heavy about it….pure rum air….try not to inhale half a dozen minis at once! It had been a long while since I had made some but the arrival of a lovely birthday present prompted me to change that situation.

Last year, my buddy Inne and I started to discuss the pastry work of Hidemi Sugino, Japanese pastry virtuoso. I have loved and admired his creations for years and when she mentioned she had a friend who could get the book in Japan and bring it back to her so she could then send it to me, I know I let out a loud "Yes!". Lucky me, it came in the mail for my birthday along with some plates I used here and here. Thank you Inne! I don’t read Japanese but thankfully in this book, the recipes are translated in English. Allright, so translated may not be the right word as the English used is really wrong in some sentences but you get the gist of it fairly quickly. I was relieved to see that the original measures in grams had been kept although there are equivalences given in spoons and cups. I can’t tell you if this part is accurate because I had no time to double check and I must add that I used the grams, my personal preference in baking.

His Citrus Babas caught my eye the first couple of minutes I started looking at the mouth watering desserts put together for the book. The dough was mixed with a citrus puree, the baked babas soaked with an orange syrup and topped with an orange liqueur flavored pastry cream. The citrus puree called for whole citrus to be poached and puree, skin, pulp and rind. Where it might work beautifully for the kumquat recipe used, I thought not so much if I did a mix of grapefruit, lemons, lime and oranges since kumquats are out of season here now. I kept the rinds of the lemon and limes and used all the citrus fruit pulp. I changed the syrup to incorporate some rum and since I had half a batch of Lime and Mascarpone Mousse left, I topped the finished babas with a dollop of these.

Citrus Babas-Copyright©Tartelette 2008 Citrus Babas:

Printable Recipe

Makes 8 small (I used square silicone molds)

For the babas:
3 gr. instant dry yeast
20 gr. lukewarm water
5 gr. sugar
100 gr. all purpose flour
2 gr. salt
1 large egg
60 gr. milk
40 g. butter, melted and cooled
50 gr. Citrus Compote, pureed

For the Citrus Compote:
100 gr. of mixed citrus fruit of your choice (I used a mixture of lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit and some of the lemon and lime rinds)
100 gr. sugar
100 gr. water
6 whole cardamom pods

Use the flesh and some of the rinds of the fruits, add the sugar and water and put all in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Let cool. Remove the cardamom pods. Puree until completely smooth.

For the syrup:
100 gr. orange juice
100 gr. rum
70 gr. sugar

Bring all the ingredients to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer the syrup to a wide, shallow pan.

For the mousse filling:
Half a recipe Lime and Mascarpone Mousse

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and sugar and let stand until foamy. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and the milk together.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the yeast mixture, flour, salt, add the egg mixture and butter. Mix until all the ingredients are combined and you get a soft dough. Let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume.
Punch the dough down and add the citrus compote. Mix until well combined.
Drop the dough by tablespoons full in babas molds or muffin tins or whatever you have available. Let rise until nearly doubled. Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks. Unmold the babas.
Soak the babas into the syrup, upside down first and then flip them over. Let them soak a minute and transfer to a wire rack to drain the syrup. Reserve the syrup. You can keep the babas in the fridge until plating time, well covered.
To plate: top each babas with a dollop of mousse, drizzle with the reserved syrup and add some mint and lemon rind or zest if desired.


Mother's Day-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
I thought that adding one more citrus post to this month of May could not hurt and wish to dedicate these Citrus Babas to my mother for Mother’s Day. I know I am a day late but I thought that she would forgive me if I made one of our favorites, a baba…all pretty and citrusy. Plus, she was spending the day with my dad, brother and her granddaughters. Mom, I love you! Everyday, you show me the importance of giving of oneself, giving love and friendship, lending an ear and a welcoming hand and I can only hope to be half as good as you are. You radiate love and laughter to all around you and I strive to make you proud although I make you worry sometimes and sometimes I make you laugh. I know I make you scratch your head and I know I make you raise your hands or roll your eyes…but I know that you and you only understands me when I sing you Sinatra or Singing In The Rain. Mom, you are my lucky star….I love you!

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Anonymous May 26, 2008 um 7:57 am

Helen, what a sweet post to go along with a lovely dessert! I grew up also having just a bite of a babas rum which my mom made from time to time. Thanks for another beautiful dessert and sharing the story with picture of you and your mom.

Unknown May 26, 2008 um 8:23 am

so sweet 🙂 reading your post makes me missing my mother a lot more. anyway, the baba looks really lovely.

Peabody May 26, 2008 um 8:26 am

Looking fabulous and I love the use of the mousse since I love that recipe of yours!

Rachael Hutchings May 26, 2008 um 8:32 am

What a beautiful post!

Rosa's Yummy Yums May 26, 2008 um 8:38 am

A great post! That’s a nice picture of you and your Mom…

Those Babas look gorgeous and delicious! A wonderful combination of ingredients!



MyKitchenInHalfCups May 26, 2008 um 8:50 am

What a mess tears and drool make! You really know how to whip the heart strings with the little girl repeating baba au rum who charges ahead to baking out of this world looking babas to hugging her mom with lovely words!
I say a very big hug and thank you to your mom! These babas are really lovely so glad Inne sent you this book!
It took blogging and my scale but now I always click my heels and smile when a recipe is in grams and change the recipes that aren’t ! What were we thinking!!

Anonymous May 26, 2008 um 8:53 am

What a beautiful entry 🙂 I’ve never heard nor tried babas before, but these look really good! I love your presentation of it.

Botacook May 26, 2008 um 9:10 am

Miam miam, ça a l’air divin, en plus j’adore les babas au rhum, les agrumes et la cardamome 🙂

Suzana May 26, 2008 um 9:20 am

What a sweet, simple and moving Mom & Daughter love post! It’s been years since I had a baba au rum… these look awesome, as usual.

I won the Cherry Blossom Extract?? oh wow, how exciting! Can’t wait to think of what I’ll be doing with it!!! Thank you Helen and Rachael! 🙂

Barbara May 26, 2008 um 9:38 am

How wonderful to feel like that about your mother. You are so lucky. A lovely post.

Anonymous May 26, 2008 um 9:54 am

What a wonderful post.

I love babas and this looks an amazing version. Thank you for sharing.

Cannelle Et Vanille May 26, 2008 um 10:05 am

What a beautiful post Helen. Beautiful words about your mom, beautiful childhood memories (you know how I love remembering those!) and gorgeous baba. Baba au rum happens to be one of my favorite classic desserts and I love the little square shapes. Cute! I am also enamoured with all these Japanese pastry chefs… excellent technique and new flavors. Loved this one!

spicyicecream May 26, 2008 um 10:59 am

Oh Helen, I was going to make something very similar for SHF with mandarins, but the lemon flan won out in the scissors paper rock tournament! What a lovely post 🙂

LyB May 26, 2008 um 12:29 pm

I can’t wait to see the SHF round-up! This is such a lovely dessert Helen, I’ve never had babas au rum but they sound divine!

Astrid May 26, 2008 um 12:40 pm

Beautiful tribute to your mother, beautiful babas I always shied away from these precisely because they were soaked in rum syrup, but you make me want to try again. And I *love* the square-shaped molds you used!

Rachel@fairycakeheaven May 26, 2008 um 1:08 pm

Helen, in a word DIVINE!

Anonymous May 26, 2008 um 1:24 pm

These little babas are adorable! I made full sized ones for a while one spring trying to get something fantastic but never hit the mark (they were always more trouble than they were worth to be honest). So, I’m going to bookmark this recipe and give babas a try again soon.

LizNoVeggieGirl May 26, 2008 um 1:32 pm

I made the deadline for SHF!! Yay!! Haha :0)

Congratulations to Suzana for winning the cherry-blossom extract!

Helen, the photograph of you and your mother is brilliant, and so heartwarming – love it!! And hooray for a delicious baba dessert (great recipe!) to share with her :0)

glamah16 May 26, 2008 um 1:49 pm

Oh I havent had a rum baba in ages! These sook so wonderful. What a beautiful daughter you are.

Peter M May 26, 2008 um 2:16 pm

This dessert is elegant, delicate…just like moms are!

Heather May 26, 2008 um 2:41 pm

mmm these look delicious! i was looking for something to bring as a dessert to a wedding shower, these seem perfect… bite sized and packing a punch! the pictures are beautiful.

Nina Timm May 26, 2008 um 3:04 pm

You are a baking genius! Every post just betters the precious one. I have never even tasted these beauties before, but you have left me inspired.Thank You.

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" May 26, 2008 um 4:07 pm

These citrus babas look divine. I know if your Mother was in town, she would love to share them with you. I’m so glad she had a wonderful Mother’s Day with your family.

I oogle Hidemi Sugino’s work too. I’ve found some pictures of his pastries on Google and I admire his artistry. I’m so glad you got his wonderful book for your birthday. I can’t wait to see all the beautiful desserts you make from it.

Thanks for hosting Sugar High Friday this month Helen. I can’t wait to see the roundup.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Patricia Scarpin May 26, 2008 um 4:18 pm

That is a beautiful photo!
I have never tried nor made babas, Helen, an these look so good!

Veron May 26, 2008 um 4:50 pm

looks yummy!!! A great tribute to mom.I’m sorry I cannot make your shf, I got swamped with so many things and my nephew and a friend is in town for the weekend.

Anonymous May 26, 2008 um 5:14 pm

This is so pretty and yummy. 🙂

Lore May 26, 2008 um 7:19 pm

You made me miss my mother even greater than I usually do and that’s pretty hard to surpass. Your babas look so delicate.

Anonymous May 26, 2008 um 7:24 pm

Lovely post, and mouthwatering photo!

My Sweet & Saucy May 26, 2008 um 7:35 pm

What a beautiful dedication! A lovely looking dessert too!

Mike of Mike's Table May 26, 2008 um 7:41 pm

I’ve never had a rum babas before, but it sounds right up my alley. Also, as always, I absolutely love the way you presented it. The twist of peel climbing up the center looks wonderful

diva May 26, 2008 um 8:00 pm

that is lovely. how sweet 🙂 great presentation too.

Sophie May 26, 2008 um 8:18 pm

I’ve never tried rum babas but I have to agree with you, they do have a cool name. These look like they’d be a fun summer dessert, too :). Pretty presentation.

Anonymous May 26, 2008 um 8:51 pm

Merci ma grande fille chérie pour cette délicate attention, mais tu vas me faire rougir. Oui je t’aime plus que tout et je suis fière de toi. Tu es mon rayon de soleil… et tu me fais penser aux beaux poèmes que tu m’écrivais toujours pour la fete des mères, j’en ai garder quelques uns. Je t’aime d’amour de la vie entère et je t’embrasse mille et mille fois très affectueusement. Mam

Cookie baker Lynn May 26, 2008 um 9:12 pm

You’re right – the name is wonderful to say. But the dessert itself looks even more wonderful. I love the way you’ve garnished it. And what a terrific way to send love to your mother.

sefa firdaus May 26, 2008 um 10:04 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

sefa firdaus May 26, 2008 um 10:05 pm

so sweet Helen..
I love to see the picture of you and your mom,
but I envy you as the same time.
I miss hugging my mom 🙁
It’s been 2 years I haven’t seen her 🙁

btw, the citrus and cardamom rum babas looks tasty..
I’ll give it a try as soon as the landlord fix my oven 😀

Anonymous May 26, 2008 um 10:19 pm

your words to your mom really touch my heart. isn’t wonderful to have such a great mom like yours in your life? bravo, Helen!

Anonymous May 26, 2008 um 10:38 pm

Congrats to Suzana for winning!

What a great baba recipe! Looks very delicious! Nice dedication to your mom. How sweet!

Weeva May 27, 2008 um 12:05 am

Beautiful presentation – I bet they taste gorgeous too! Quick question: you say to use cardamom pods in the compote – do you mean green or black? Most recipes don’t specify but I actually happen to have a stock of both and I’m not sure of their differences. Thanks!

Lori May 27, 2008 um 12:06 am

What a great loving picture of you and your Mom. I am quite sure she is SO VERY proud of you. And you exude that warmth in your posts all the time!

I love this little cake. I have never had anything like this before. Oh the things I am learning from you! Salute to you and your Mom!

That Girl May 27, 2008 um 12:14 am

I love how the babas tenderly cradle the mousse!

Gigi May 27, 2008 um 5:43 am

beautiful post and photo! i have never made babas before, so i am going to have to put on my must try list!

DoceLounge May 27, 2008 um 10:06 am

that’s beautiful, both the babas, which I never tried, because I’m not really a fan of rum (or alcohol btw.. but will try a punch-free version! haha) and the words to your mom, she must really be proud of such an amazing daughter, congratulations! 🙂

Amanda at Little Foodies May 27, 2008 um 11:59 am

A great post and dedication to your Mum Helen.

Also, I’ve just been catching up with some of your posts. Hugs for the loss of your friend L. x

Anonymous May 27, 2008 um 1:55 pm

Just Lovely!

Eileen (passions to pastry)

Anonymous May 27, 2008 um 8:19 pm

Stunning! The presentation alone is incredible, I can only imagine how it tastes.

Anonymous May 27, 2008 um 10:30 pm

I absolutely love the name, it just stands out. Not to mention your beautiful photo! You rock.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 um 12:21 am

Oh Helen! What a lovely tribute to a wonderful woman. You two have the same gleeful look and sparkle in your eyes.

PheMom May 28, 2008 um 6:25 am

Beautiful as always! Lovely post to your mom!

Marianna May 28, 2008 um 7:37 am

this is so wonderful, such a nice twist to the conservative baba au rhum! I’ve been noticing all the citrus recipes you’ve been posting lately and you really have been coming up with an amazing array of recipes using just one citrus base!

Anonymous June 1, 2008 um 5:36 pm

As a former pastry chef, I adore citrus desserts and ironically found them the hardest to sell, especially grapefruit. They are in fact the most delicious, and so is this post and the beautiful photo of you and your Mom. Mostly spend my time painting now (I’m an artist) but hope to have time soon to try your fabulous recipes. Love your blog – your passion for what you do and your personal touch are wonderful and inspiring.

Jen Yu June 1, 2008 um 6:03 pm

You already know how much I love the relationship you have with your mom. That picture is just precious and it shows what a dear you are and where that must have come from (your mom!). wonderful.

Jaime June 24, 2008 um 3:40 am

one of my favorite things to do growing up was going to this little french bakery with my mom and picking up some babas au rum! i didn’t realize there was so much alcohol in them when i was younger, and now i am surprised that my mom encouraged me to eat them! 😛 i have not had one in ages really…and have been in search of a recipe for quite some time now…i think i’ve found the recipe i am going to make! 🙂 thanks!

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