This is a traditional Neapolitan dessert with Arabic origins.
Babà al rum (sponge cakes in rum syrup)
- 240g (2 cups) cake flour
- pinch of salt
- 10g dry yeast
- 250ml (1 cup) warm milk
- 4 large eggs
- 125ml (½ cup) butter, melted
- 15ml (1 tbsp) castor sugar
- 100g (½ cup) sugar
- 500ml water
- zest of ½ a lemon
- 250ml (1 cup) dark rum
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Grease 12 babà moulds or 2 x 6-hole muffin tins.
For the babàs, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the yeast and milk and mix until you have a soft dough. Keep beating until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl,adding a little more flour if necessary. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave the dough to rise in a warm (but not hot) place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Beat 2 of the eggs and mix into the dough, together with the butter and castor sugar, until well combined. Add the remaining eggs and continue beating until the dough is smooth andglossy, about 10 minutes.
Half-fill the moulds or muffin openings with the dough. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Bake until cooked and brown, about 20 – 25 minutes. Set aside to cool completely, then turn out.
For the syrup, place the sugar, water and zest in a pot and boil uncovered for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the rum.
Soak the babàs in the syrup for a minute and serve immediately, with extra syrup drizzled round the plates.