Chocolate, Pecan and Orange Babka

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Things to Bake. And there are many many things to bake in this world. Usually I just land up baking the tried and tested, because I don’t have time for untried and untested.
 But sometimes I do.
 For last weeks class, I made  chocolate and raspberry panna cotta.
The plan B if those weren’t a success was this chocolate babka – a recipe that I’d pinned a while back.

So, I’m sorry last-week’s-ladies … if you’d rejected the panna cotta, you’d have had the opportunity to sample this instead.
And you really should try it – I don’t care who you are or where you live – you need chocolate babka in your life. (Unless you’re gluten intolerant. Then you definitely don’t. And there isn’t a gluten-free version. Sorry!)
You’ll just have to bake it yourselves. But I’m going to help.

So here’s the original recipe…

http://milk-and.blogspot.com/2015/10/chocolate-hazelnut-cinnamon-babka.html

 I just changed a couple of things – replacing hazelnuts with pecans, and adding some orange zest. Because dark chocolate and orange in a loaf together are beyond delicious.

Chocolate, Pecan and Orange Babka

Ingredients:


Dough:


1 sachet instant dried yeast

320g white bread flour
40g caster sugar
1pinch salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
80ml lukewarm milk
90g butter, cut into cubes


Chocolate  Filling:


100g  butter

180g caster sugar
80g dark chocolate, chopped
40g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100g chopped pecan nuts 
zest of one medium orange (squeeze out the juice after zesting, you’ll use it for the syrup below.)

Sugar Syrup:


50ml water 

50ml orange juice
100g caster sugar


Method:

Dough:

Place the flour, dried yeast, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix briefly to combine the ingredients. 
Heat the milk until just lukewarm. Add the cubed butter into the milk so that it softens slightly. 
Pour the milk and beaten egg into the flour mixture. 
Knead with the dough hook  on low speed until the dough is smooth. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. 

Filling:


Melt the butter and chocolate together. Mix in the sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and orange zest. Set aside. 


Sugar Syrup:


Place the ingredients together in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. 
Allow to cool.

Assembly:

Grease and line a large loaf pan with baking paper. 
Punch down the risen dough. 


Place on lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangle, approximately 50cm x 30cm.  
Spread the filling over the dough, all the way to the edge. (If the filling has set, microwave / heat it briefly so that it is easy to spread.)
Sprinkle with the pecan nuts. Starting from the long edge, roll up tightly into a long sausage. 
Slice down the length of the dough. Twist the two strands over each other making a large plait.  

Fold the plait in half – bringing the two ends next to each other. Place it into the prepared pan.  
Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise in a warm spot until risen, approx 1 hr. 



Preheat the oven to 180’C, thermofan on.  

Discard the cling wrap,  and bake the babka for approximately 30minutes, until the dough is a light golden colour. 

Remove from the oven and pour the syrup over the hot loaf.  (Do not omit this step, it adds moisture and flavour to the finished product). 

Leave to cool completely in the loaf tin before serving. 

Why stop at one slice when you can have two?!
Happy baking!
xxM