Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cream-Filled Mini-Babas For Easter

Witamy!  With Easter approaching much too quickly, we hope you will prepare this year’s feast in the traditional style, reminiscent of the classic feast prepared a century ago by Peter’s grandmother.  Easter lunch has always been presented at room temperature (except for the hot clear barszcz) because everyone goes to church in the morning and there is no time to cook extensively.  Many of the dishes were actually prepared several days ahead.

Grandmother’s table was truly a groaning board...the dishes of cold meats, salads, relishes, occupied one end of the table, including a big ham, small roasted piglet, a turkey or goose and all the salads, side dishes and various accompaniments, such as mustard sauce and the iconic cwikla – prepared from chopped beets and horseradish. 

At the other end of the table stood the tall, stately Babas with their shimmery glaze, a favorite cheesecake and endless varieties of flat short-bread mazurkas, decorated artistically in traditional Easter designs.  The table was also graced with beautiful crystal decanters of homemade liquors, reflecting the bright sun with ruby red or amber hues of the rainbow. 

Our two books have all the recipes for the traditional Easter feast.   There is still plenty of time to get autographed copies for yourself and as gifts for your loved ones who may not have Babcia’s recipes.

With the popularity of cupcakes skyrocketing everywhere, we want to share with you a favorite recipe for mini-sized, cream-filled Babas that will look great on your table and will please your guests even more for their portion-sized presentation.

Mini Babas  - yields approx. one dozen pieces
·       2 cups butter
·       2 ¾ cups sifted flour
·       2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
·       4 egg yolks
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cut the butter into the flour either using your fingers or the dough paddle of a standing mixer, until it forms coarse crumbs.  The goal here is to maintain small, but visible "pearls" of butter in the flour.  Add in the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla and combine well.  Knead the dough, either by hand or using a dough hook, until it forms a ball.  Wrap it in plastic and cool it down for ten minutes or so in the refrigerator while preparing the cream.. 

·       1 pint light cream, just boiling
·       2 eggs
·       2 egg yolks
·       2/3 cup sugar
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       2 tablespoons cornstarch

Put the coffee cream on to heat.  Beat the eggs and yolks with the sugar for five minutes.  Add the vanilla and cornstarch.  Beat for 2 more minutes.  Beat some more while slowly pouring in the hot coffee cream.  Cook the mixture on low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens.  Cool.

While the filling is cooling, roll the dough ball out to ¼ inch thickness.   Using a biscuit cutter, glass or paper template,  cut out circles large enough to line the inside of a standard cup of a non-stick muffin pan.  Line the insides of one muffin cup with one circle of dough.

Fill the dough-lined muffin cup about 1/3 full with the cool filling mixture.  Cover the cup with another dough circle and seal the edges.  Repeat until all the dough is used.

Bake the Babas for 20 minutes at 400°F and until golden.  Gently turn them out of the pan. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.  For color, garnish the platter with fresh fruit pieces or mint.

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