Hiiii! I am sitting in the middle of an airport in Boston waiting to board a flight back to NYC! We have just landed from Paris, made it through immigration and customs, transferred our bags, and arrived at our gate to learn that our flight has been delayed by 4 hours because of shitty weather in NYC. FANTASTIC. I already had serious regrets about booking a flight that transfers rather than directly to NYC, and now my regrets are multiplied ten-fold. Here's to hoping that the next bit is relatively stress free - its getting close to bedtime in Paris time, so a serious case of the sleepies are starting to hit. I can't complain too much really - coming off the back of a week in Paris with some of my besties.
It's time for another blog party! The pumpkin party from a couple of days ago was super fun, and I loved seeing what everyone made! I have definitely bookmarked a couple that are going to make their way into my oven in the coming weeks. This time the celebration is around apples - a bunch of us have gotten together to all post on the same day, for the #aisforalltheapples blog roundup! The last roundup with this crew focused on peaches (remember these wee pies?), and this time around we are going for apples! Check out the hashtag #aisforalltheapples on IG, or head over to Rebecca and Ruth's or Annie's page to see the full roundup of everyone participating!
I'm bringing this Salted Caramel and apple Babka to the party! I originally made this to use up a jar of caramel and a bowl of apples I had sitting at home, before we went away on one of the many trips I've been on in the last few weeks. I used a brioche recipe I've posted about a couple of times (the one I use for chelsea buns and burger buns - it's amazingly versatile and I love it), tweaked it a little, rolled it out, then slathered it in salted caramel, and filled it with apples which I cooked down with a little sugar until they were lovely and caramelised. I then rolled it all up, chopped it in half, and did the babka twistaroo, before letting it rise again. It then got a quick egg wash bath, and popped in the oven until it was lovely and golden. Just after it came out I brushed it with a wee bit more caramel just to make it super super sticky and delicious. The result perfectly emulated autumn - warm gooey caramel, with little chunks of apple scattered throughout. We totally mowed the first loaf in about 10 minutes, and I wrapped the second one up to take away with us, where it was demolished almost as quickly. It makes a perfect breakfast, or morning or afternoon tea snack with a cup of coffee.
A few wee notes:
- The Caramel needs some time to cool down, so ensure that you leave a little time for that! I like to get the dough on, then make the caramel and apple filling, so that they have time to cool before assembly.
- If you would like to make the dough for this the day before, mix up the dough, then pop into a bowl, cover, and do the first rise in the fridge overnight.
- This makes enough for two loaves - it's easier to make dough in this size of a batch. If you don't want two loaves of babka (you do though, trust me) you can shape the rest into rolls or bake it as a single loaf of bread, or try a different babka filling. (Nutella? uhhhh yes)
- I included a step where you freeze the dough for 2 hours before rolling it out - this makes it much easier to roll thinly, and helps a lot when cutting and twisting the babka.
Salted Caramel and Apple Babka
- Makes two loaves -
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp sugar
3 3/4 cups (565g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
6 Tbsp (90g) unsalted butter, cut in chunks, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream, warmed
1 tbsp flaky sea salt
1 kg (about 2 lbs) apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes
70g (4.5 Tbsp) unsalted butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
- PROCESS -
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth.
Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, punch down slightly and shape into a rectangle. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and place on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 2 hours to firm up before rolling.
Place the sugar in a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring constantly. The sugar will start to form clumps, then begin to melt. Cook until is it amber in colour, then remove from the heat and immediately add all of the butter. Be careful as the caramel will bubble rapidly. Once the butter is incorporated, add the cream and stir well. Stir in the salt, and pour into a glass jar. Allow to cool completely, but do not refrigerate.
Combine the apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a medium sized pot. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Transfer to a container and allow to cool.
Grease two loaf tins. Unwrap the brioche dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to approximately 12" x 26" (30cm x 66cm). Spread with 7-8 Tbsp of the salted caramel, and scatter the apple filling evenly over the surface of the dough. Reserve the rest of the caramel - this will be used after baking. Starting with the long edge, roll up the dough into a tight roll. Place it seam side down. Cut The roll in half, and set half aside.
Working with one half of the roll at a time, cut it lengthwise using a sharp knife. Cross one half over the other, then cross over each other 2-3 times. (This video does a good job of explaining). Place in the loaf tin. Repeat with the second roll. Lightly cover the tins with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to prove for 45 mins to an hour, or until the dough lightly springs back when gently pressed with a finger tip. While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Brush lightly with egg wash. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown and cooked through (If you are having issues working this out, a cooked internal temp for an enriched dough is about 200˚f / 95˚c). Remove from the oven and brush each loaf with about 1 tbsp of the remaining salted caramel. Serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container.