Rum baba stollen bites

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A simple, kind of “throw it all together” bake, this is basically stollen crossed with rum babas and is a popular sweet treat in this house. It is not just for making and eating at Christmas either; I often make it for Easter and at various other times of the year.

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I often cut this into small pieces – perfect as a sweet “pick me up” and, I think, wonderful when served with a pot of tea or coffee.

You basically sandwich the rich almondy filling (think very soft marzipan) between two layers of the dough. This is left to prove (rise), it then gets baked and once it comes out of the oven you spoon over a rum drizzle and let it soak right in. You can roll out the dough or pat it out with your hands and fingers: either way, you have a delicious treat to tuck into!

The dough is an enriched bread dough, laden with butter, eggs and sugar and flavoured subtly with orange zest and vanilla: it has a buttery, cakey texture that melts in the mouth.

Recipe: rum baba stollen bites – makes one large tray bake

Dough
  • 300g plain flour*
  • 8g dried “instant” yeast
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 6g fine salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • about 200g milk – can be cool for a slower prove, or slightly warmed

*I use a standard plain flour here rather than a strong plain or bread flour so the texture veers more towards the soft, cakey side.

Filling
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
To finish
  • 4 tablespoons rum
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • icing sugar to dredge

You will also need a Swiss Roll tin or traybake tin, lightly greased and lined with baking parchment.

(1) Make dough by adding all the dough ingredients to a food mixer with the dough hook attachment for about 10 minutes, using a low setting to help incorporate the ingredients. Add a little more milk if it seems too dry. If you don’t have a mixer, you can mix the ingredients together in a bowl and use a wooden spoon to form the dough.

NB: the dough might feel sticky, mainly because of the amount of butter in there, but when it chills it will firm up enough to be worked with easily.

(2) Cover the bowl and put in the fridge, ideally overnight – by which time it will be firm and will have risen slightly: this very slow chilling will have allowed the yeast to ferment enough to give a wonderful flavour to the baked dough.

(3) Filling: make the almond filling by mixing the filling ingredients together to give a very soft, spreadable mixture.

(4) Turn the cold dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a long thin rectangle: aim for about the width of the tin and twice the length of the tin. Feel free to stretch it with your hand a bit if it helps give a neater rectangle.

NB: alternatively, take half the dough and pat it into the tin before spreading the filling over and loosely covering with the other half of the dough (which you can spread out wih your hands and fingers on the work surface if you prefer)

(5) Spread the filling over half of the dough and fold the other half over: don’t worry about sealing the edges.

(6) Lift onto the baking tray and lightly pat down to enable the dough to go right to the edges and corners.

(7) Pop inside a large bag or bin liner and leave at room temeprature until well risen and puffy: this could take several hours depending on the room temperature.

(8) Bake in an oven preheated to 170C (fan) for 20-25 minutes or until a deep golden brown.

NB: there is no need to glaze it with egg wash before it goes in the oven as the stollen will be covered with icing sugar later.

(9) When it comes out of the oven, mix the rum, orange juice and caster sugar – there is no need to let the sugar dissolve fully. While the stollen is still warm, poke holes over it using a knife or fork and spoon over 2-3 tablespoons of the rum drizzle and let it soak in. Leave to cool fully in the tin.

NB: you can add all of the drizzle if you want a stickier stollen, or you can stir it into some whipped cream to serve with it.

(10) When cooled fully, lift out of the tin and dust liberally with icing sugar before cutting into rectangles or squares.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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