- Serves: Makes 1 loaf, serves approx 4 people
- Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 3 hrs rising time for the dough
- Effort: medium
For the almond topping
- 40 g cold butter
- 50 g plain flour
- 80 g caster sugar
- 100 g almonds, coarsely chopped
For the loaf
- 10 g dried yeast
- 90 ml warm milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 small egg yolk
- 55 g caster sugar
- 200 g plain flour
- 50 g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 300 g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, coarsely grated
- 300 g fresh cherries, halved and pitted
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
1. For the almond topping: place the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs. Mix in the almonds - the mixture should be very crumbly. Chill until needed.
2. For the loaf: put the dried yeast in a small bowl with the warm milk, stirring constantly to dissolve.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the egg, egg yolk and the sugar for about 2-3 minutes until creamy and pale in colour. Stir in the yeast mixture.
4. Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in the egg and yeast mixture, pulling everything together to form a dough. Add the butter and knead for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
5. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise for 2 hours in a warm place.
6. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3.
7. Butter and line a loaf tin with baking paper and then butter the paper.
8. Place the grated chocolate and cherries in a bowl.
9. Roll the dough into a square about 1cm thick on a well-floured surface. Brush the edges with egg yolk and spread all but 2 tablespoons of the chocolate and cherry filling onto the rolled dough.
10. Roll up the dough from one side into a tight log shape, pinching the ends to seal. Twist in 4-5 places into a horseshoe shape, then cross the two halves over each other to form an open-ended figure of eight; twist again and fit into the prepared loaf tin. The aim is to get a plaited look.
11. Spread the top with the remaining chocolate and cherry filling. Finally sprinkle with the almond topping and leave covered in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled in volume.
12. Bake the babka for 1 hour and 20 minutes until cooked. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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