Tag Archives: Dan Lepard

Rum baba

This is a throw-back to the Seventies! Retro cakes after vintage clothes are making a comeback in our kitchen – Rachel Khoo style – but I won’t complain because I loved rum baba as a child and I had not had one since… until I started making my own this month.

This recipe is surprisingly fool-proof but I won’t lie: it will take you a whole afternoon – only make it for people you love. Love wants time. That’s my measure of affection !

Ingredients list

  • Milk (warm), 100ml
  • Fast action yeast, 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Strong white flour (type00), 150g
  • Egg, 1 plus 1 yolk
  • Caster sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Fine salt, a pinch
  • Butter, 50g

For the syrup

  • Brown sugar 600g
  • Water 500ml
  • Lemon peel
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • Dark rum, 2 Tbsp plus more to serve

Warm the bowl of you mixer with boiling water or if using a Thermomix, set it the temperature at 50 degrees.

Add the warm milk, yeast and 50g of flour.

Stir well and then leave for 15 min until it becomes foamy. It is ideal in the thermomix because you can set it on speed 1 and at 50 degrees and leave the dough to make its magic.

This is a bread recipe rather than a cake mix so the proving is really important and you need good fresh yeast powder. Always check the best before date.

Add the remaining flour, egg and yolk, sugar and salt to the mix and beat at top speed for 2 minutes. Then add the diced, cold butter and beat again for 2 minutes.

Cover and leave to rise for 45 minutes. I leave it in the warm Thermomix bowl and it pretty much should double in volume.

Brush the baba or savarins tins with oil. You can also use muffins tins or mini pudding pans. Put the batter into a jug and half-fill each mould. Cover and reserve.

While they rise – and they will!- you can make the syrup by mixing all the ingredients in a large saucepan and letting it bubble away until it has reduced a bit. Usually no less than 5 or 8 minutes. Add the rum.

Let it cool.

Meanwhile, the babas have risen just above the rim of their tins. If not, just leave them a little longer.

Put in a warm oven (170) on fan for 20 minutes.

Take them out, leave them to cool a bit then assemble the pudding by putting the babas in a deep dish and soaking them with the rum syrup. Spoon the syrup on to cover them well.

Drain the baba and slice it in two halves. Put some more syrup in the centre of both halves if necessary and a nice drop of dark rum. Reserve in a cool place until ready to serve.

Serve them with whipped cream and some fresh, seasonal fruit. My whipped cream was slightly minty and I choose kiwi slices this time. Kiwi is a good fruit for dessert because it has little flavour of its own but a pleasant acidity to offset any sweet pudding ; and rum babas are very sweet indeed…

This recipe is taken with a few twists from Dan Lepard’s new book  Short and Sweet, the best of home baking.


>chesnut brownies

>Chocolate and chesnut… What’s not to love about this combination?!

Ingredients list:
Cooked chestnut 240g
Brown sugar 200g
Dark rum 25ml
Vanilla extract 2 tsp
Eggs 2 (separated)
Butter 200g
Chocolate 200g
Flour 100g

Chop the chesnuts and mix them in a bowl with half the sugar, rum and vanilla.

Beat the egg whites  until it makes soft peaks and beat in the sugar, then the egg yolks.

Melt the butter and chocolate on low heat and beat in the chesnuts and flour. Stir into the meringue mix and then pour into a lined baking tin.

Bake at 170˚C. for 20 to 25 minutes. Take out when just about set in the middle. Cut up into squares and serve cool with ice-cream. This is meltingly delicious and a really sticky treat for winter time. We loved it so much we had it for Christmas lunch and as a pudding again in the week! It should be soft set but not too raw. And it is delicious with a bit of whipped cream if you have the appetite…

Recipe by Dan lepard
Photo by me: Oxford in a snow storm!

Polenta crust tomato bread

This is another recipe from Dan Lepard column in the guardian. I’ve made it twice before with rye flour and it has been a success both times, so here it is!

Ingredients list:
Natural yogurt 100g
Tomato paste 25g
Olive oil 25g
Sundried tomatoes 150g
Sprig of rosemary
Rye flour 200g and plain flour 200g

pinch of salt

1 tsp instant dry yeast

Polenta to sprinkle

Mix together the yogurt, tomato paste and oil, add 125 ml of water and stir in the chopped tomatoes and rosemary.

Put the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl, pour in the tomato mix and work to a soft dough. Leave for 10 minutes then knead and leave again. Shape into one round shape or several small buns. Roll them in the polenta to cover the crust. Leave to rise on a floured tray for one hour. Best to cover with cling film and keep in a warm corner of the kitchen!

Bake in a hot oven (220℃) for 30 min for buns or 45 min for the loaf. Add a bowl of water next to it so the crust is nice and golden.

This is a moist, flavoursome bread and it is surprisingly easy to make. Don’t expect it to rise too much because rye flour doesn’t but it is light and has a lovely, dusty crust. We love it with creamy cheeses…