Babas Au Rhum

These little muffin dealies are named after Ali Baba because the guy who came up with them liked Ali Baba as a personal hero. Basically, a lazy dude took his stale bread and dipped it in rum and sugar to make it taste better and then lazily named it after his favorite folk character. Lame story. If I dipped my stale Cheerios in rum, I’m sure I could find a better name for them than Anne of Green Gables in Rum.

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They deserve better. Not because they taste great (Babas au Rhum are supposed to be dessert, but no, I’d say they are more in the realm of breakfast pastry in sugar-high America), they deserve better because they have such a romantic name. They also deserve a pop-over pan so they look right. Alas, my kitchen is not complete. I made over twenty squat Babas.

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Babas Au Rhum

For the batter

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 envelope rapid dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water, room temperature
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated zest from 1 lemon or orange
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened

Syrup
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark rum

Glaze
1/2 cup apple jelly, heated

Have all ingredients for the batter at room temperature. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. In a mixer bowl, combine the water, eggs and lemon zest and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed until well mixed, scraping the sides of the mixer bowl. With mixer running, add butter a tablespoon at a time until batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into 2 lightly greased popover pans, filling each about halfway and let rise at room temperature about two hours. When ready to bake, place in a preheated 375 degree oven on the middle rack. Bake 15 minutes, rotating pans at halfway point. Babas should be a golden brown. Transfer pans to a wire cooling rack. After about 5 minutes, remove babas from pan and continue to cool.

Combine the water and sugar in a pan, stirring to dissolve sugar and bring to a simmer. Remove pan from heat and add the rum.

Using tongs, take a cooled baba and dip into the rum syrup, turning to coat, leaving the baba in the syrup no more that 5 seconds. Repeat with remaining babas. Brush the melted apple jelly on top of the babas. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Meh, 3 stars. I had never dared put currants in anything before, because they seemed too close to raisins, and I detest raisins. But they taste great! They are but mini-raisins and not at all offensive in texture or flavor. Mom, you could probably sit with them for fifteen minutes in your mindfulness-based stress reduction sessions and have just as riveting a conversation as with the famous, or was it infamous, Raisin.

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As for a better Ali Baba story, I challenged myself to come up with something better in two minutes. Because of the way the famous story title is written “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” people think that Ali Baba is the leader of forty thieves, a villain. Actually, he’s just a lucky dolt who follows a band of thieves around and eavesdrops on their magical cave treasure passwords (fyi: always Open Sesame) and by other such flukes of fate he just happens to benefit from the spoils of the thieves’ sloppiness. So, perhaps Babas au Rhum should be so named because Open Sesame is what the little muffin will whisper to your lips on its way toward your face.

7 thoughts on “Babas Au Rhum

  1. Hahaha, I love the story behind the origin of this treat’s name, and I love your revised name for them too! Also, I didn’t know you were an Anne of Green Gables fan! I fell in love with her through watching the videos at my grandmother’s house as a young lass, and then devoured the books, and later re-watched the movie with a friend in her Ashton Hall dorm room 🙂 The highlight of my fandom was getting to visit her home – http://www.gov.pe.ca/greengables/ – on a family trip. I highly recommend that you and KP pay a visit to that site, which is in a gorgeous corner of Canada, one day!

    1. No way! I can’t believe you went to Prince Edward Island! Yes, that is one of my goal destinations, for certain. I sometimes say that I really knew it was love with KP the day I had the flu and he watched all three Anne movies with me on the couch. Now there is a real man, my Gilbert.

      1. I am a lucky lady – I’m grateful that my parents were also fans of Anne, and of PEI. I sure hope you and KP can get there one day, it is a land full of wonders and delights – the red cliffs jutting into the oceans, windswept plains, abundant bicycles, seafood and fresh produce, Cows ice cream…I could go on. Oh my gosh, I adore that story about KP hanging in there for an Anne movie marathon with the object of his affection – a true Gilbert indeed! 🙂

      2. Ding Ding DING! Susan– You are my 200th Comment on the blog (a fact WordPress just told me as something of a milestone)– and because you are so perfectly close, I have decided that for being the lucky #200, I shall be bringing you a loaf of bread in the near future! Perhaps as soon as next Wednesday? We’ll coordinate. THANKS for being a faithful reader, I love staying in touch this way.

      3. No way!!!!! This is my incredibly lucky day! And to think that there is even a physical prize involved, in addition to the huge joy I get from reading your blog every day 🙂 Yes, let me know your plans for the coming week – I have been wanting to see you ever since I got back weeks ago, and this just may be the perfect spark we needed to make it happen!

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