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Author Notes: The ultimate vegan chocolate babka! Studded with juicy morsels of cinnamon-spiced pears, it makes the perfect companion to a cup of coffee or tea. —Sasha
- 5 small pears, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 100 milliliters soya cream
- 100 grams bar of dark chocolate
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup aquafaba
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- First, make the caramelised pears. Place the diced pears, butter, cinnamon, sugar and pinch of salt in a pan or saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until the pears are soft and reduced. This usually takes me about 6-7 minutes on a medium-high heat. Leave this aside to cool.
- To make the ganache, chop the chocolate up into small shards or pieces. Microwave the soy cream until bubbling (or heat it up over medium heat in a saucepan), pour in the chopped chocolate, and cover. Let this sit for 5-6 minutes, then uncover and stir well to distribute the melted chocolate. Add the butter and stir it in. Leave this in the fridge until you use it, as you want it to be more solid to prevent making too much of a mess!
- First, make the dough. Place the warm water and yeast in a large bowl and stir well. Leave until frothy, about 5 minutes.
- Now, stir in the coconut milk, aquafaba, sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and salt.
- Add the flour, and mix with your hands until a shaggy dough forms, Continue to knead until it comes together in a smooth, elastic ball. Place this back in the large bowl and cover with a damp towel. Place this in a warm place until it is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Grease and line a large bread loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inches). If you only have the smaller size (8 x 4 x 2½ in), make two loves with this recipe. When the dough is ready, knock it back down and pour it out onto a well-floured countertop.
- Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about ½-1/4-inches thick.This is the ideal thickness if you don't want to struggle to roll it up! My rectangle is usually about 12 by 19 inches. Roll it out so the longer side is facing you.
- Spread out the COMPLETELY COOL ganache evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border so it doesn't get too close to the edge of the dough. It should be a slightly thicker consistency than Nutella. Sprinkle the pears over the ganache evenly, then roll the dough up away from you into a tight log, like you would when making cinnamon rolls.
- Take a very sharp knife and cut the log in half lengthwise, then flip each piece so the cut sides, with the layers of dough and ganache, face upwards. Cross the strands over each other into an X, then twist the strands over each other on either side of the X, until all the dough is twisted.
- Squidge the twisted log so that it is the same length as your bread pan, Then lift it up gently and pop it into the loaf pan. Cover and proof for 30min-1hour, until it has risen a bit and looks fluffy. 20 minutes before the bread is done with the second proof, preheat the oven to 180C
- Bake the babka, rotating the loaf pan halfway through, until golden brown, 50–60 minutes. If it starts to brown too much, just pop a bit of foil on top of the loaf. Transfer the loaf in the pan to a wire rack and let babka cool in pan 1 hour, before removing it. If you are making two loaves, bake for 35-40 minutes. To check if the loaf is done, insert a skewer and it should not come out looking sticky or doughy (try to avoid a chocolate-rich spot when doing this test!)
- Optional step: Many babkas have a syrup poured on top of them. If you like your desserts sweet, just warm up about ¼ cup of agave/rice syrup and brush over the cooling loaf.