Baba al Bee’s Knees
Valentine’s Day is coming up and the award winning gin, Bluecoat American Dry Gin has asked me to create a Valentine’s Day inspired cocktail. Instead of doing another cocktail, I wanted a challenge and create a boozy cocktail dessert.
Everyone knows baba al rum is a French classic yeast-risen cake soaked in lots of sweet rum syrup and possibly served with a side of fluffy whipped cream. Technically, this yeast cake is a great sponge to soak in any booze or flavored syrup you can dream of. I thought, “Why not something with gin?” Bluecoat gin is a beautiful, floral and aromatic gin that tastes quite citrus-y with warm prickles of juniper and clove.
The Bee’s Knees — a sweet, light and bright Prohibition cocktail that fits perfectly with this citrus-y gin. The Bee’s Knees is essentially a simple mixture of honey syrup, lemon, and gin.
You can shape your babas in traditional cork shape, muffin pan, bundt pan, or whatever floats your boat.
Baba al Bee’s Knees
Recipe adapted from Joe Pastry
For the baba dough:
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
9 ounces (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces (1/2 cup minus two tablespoons) whole milk
2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) softened butter
Put all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle and stir on low to combine. Add the milk and turn the machine up to medium, then the eggs one at a time and continue stirring until the eggs have been incorporated. Keep beating on medium for about 4 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. With the machine running, add the butter about a tablespoon at a time, kneading until it’s all incorporated. Cover the dough lightly with plastic wrap and let it rise about 15 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Lightly butter your mold(s) and put in the dough. Let the baba rise 30-45 minutes or until almost doubled in size. Bake individual babas about 12-15 minutes, a larger one about 30 minutes or until done (a sharp knife inserted into the center should come out clean). Remove the babas from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup.
Bee’s Knees Syrup:
3 ounces Bluecoat American Dry Gin
1/3 cup Fresh lemon juice
1 cup Honey syrup (equal parts honey and water; try not to use dark or winter honey or the gin’s flavor would be dominated)
To assemble: Turn the cooled babas out on a rack placed over a sheet pan or platter. Brush the syrup onto the babas until they are noticeably heavier but not totally soaked. Let stand until ready to serve. To serve, place the babas on individual plates. Warm the syrup, then spoon a few tablespoons over the baba. Garnish with fruit or fresh whipped cream.