Baba au Rhum
- 5 tablespoons lukewarm milk (100 to 115 degrees), plus 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 ounce fresh yeast
- 1 pound 2 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for forming dough
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 6 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened, plus more for molds
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Rum Syrup
- Whipped Cream, for serving (optional)
- Cherries, for serving (optional)
- Place milk and yeast in a small bowl; stir to dissolve.
- Place flour, salt, and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with dough hook attachment; add yeast mixture and mix on low speed to combine and knead, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula; knead on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar. Add a few small pieces of butter mixture to dough; with the mixer on low, add remaining butter mixture, a little bit at a time. When all the butter mixture has been added, increase speed and continue mixing until smooth, shiny, comes away from the sides of the bowl, and is elastic, 6 to 10 minutes.
- Butter a large bowl, transfer dough to prepared bowl, and cover with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
- Lift dough from bowl and drop back into bowl to deflate; repeat process once or twice. Cover bowl and transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
- Butter 20 5-ounce baba molds and place on a baking sheet. Divide dough into 20 equal pieces; pinch each piece of dough to form balls. Place each ball of dough into prepared molds.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and milk. Brush dough with egg yolk mixture, reserving remaining. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray; cover dough, cooking spray-side down, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees in a convection oven (425 degrees in a conventional oven).
- Working from the outside inward, brush each baba very lightly with reserved egg yolk mixture. Transfer molds to oven and bake until baba just begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees (if using a convection oven; 400 if using a conventional oven) and continue baking until deep golden-brown and internal temperature reaches 205 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes more.
- Remove from oven and let cool in mold for 5 minutes. Unmold onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Poke bases of babas all over with a toothpick. Working in batches, gently drop babas into hot rum syrup, submerging completely; let soak until there are no more bubbles. Place on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining baba; serve drizzled with additional rum syrup, whipped cream, and cherries, if desired.
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