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Author Notes: My chocolate, pistachio and pecan krantz cake (or babka) is adapted from Honey & Co’s The Baking Book. I used a larger amount of chocolate in the filling and also replaced the hazelnuts in the original recipe with pistachios and pecans. —Alexandra Tamasan
Sweet, yeast dough
- 2 teaspoons dried instant yeast
- 330 grams strong white bread flour
- 40 grams caster sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 85 milliliters milk, at room temperature or heated for a few seconds in the microwave
- 90 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 pinch of salt
- Combine flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Separately, dissolve the yeast in the milk, then add to the flour. Add the butter as well and mix until dough comes together in a ball, about 5 minutes on a medium speed. Cover bowl with cling film and place in fridge for a minimum of 6 hours. I make the dough in the evening and finish the babka the next morning.
- 100 grams unsalted butter
- 190 grams caster sugar
- 120 grams dark chocolate, I use 70%
- 40 grams dark cocoa powder
- 70 grams roasted pistachios + pecans (or nuts of your choice), chopped roughly
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Remove from heat, tip sugar in and stir to dissolve. Add the chocolate and cocoa powder and mix to combine. Leave aside (not in fridge) to cool while you’re rolling the dough.
- Butter and line the long sides of a loaf tin with baking parchment. This will help lift the loaf out of the tin after baking. To assemble the babka, remove the dough from the fridge and roll into a large rectangle on a floured surface. (Honey & Co says 50cm x 30cm, however I doubt I have that much room to roll dough. Mine was more like 35cm x 15cm and there was zilch wrong with that.) Spread the filling in a thin layer, making sure to cover into the corners. Sprinkle the pistachios and pecans evenly, then roll dough in tight log, starting with one of the longer sides. If the dough is still chilled, slice log down the centre, using a sharp serrated knife or a pastry cutter. If dough has softened while rolling, place log in the fridge for 10 minutes before slicing in 2 halves. Place log halves cut side up on your surface. Overlap halves at their middle point to form a rough cross. Twist the strands over each other into a plait and place in loaf tin. Allow to proof in a warm place for approx 2 hours until dough looks puffy and has increased in size. In the mean time, preheat oven at 220C. Brush surface of babka with egg wash and place in the oven. Bake for 10 mins, then turn tin around for an even bake, giving it another 10 mins. Reduce oven temperature at 190C and bake for another 10 minutes.
- While babka bakes, make the sugar syrup. Combine 100g caster sugar, 100ml water and 1 tablespoon honey in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, removing any foam that might form. Remove from heat when all sugar has dissolved.
- Remove babka from oven and pour sugar syrup on top immediately. Allow to cool completely in the tin.