Rum Baba and Spiced Pineapple in Aged Rum Sauce
This luscious tropical dessert is an update of the classic Babas au Rhum, or rum-soaked savarin. The traditional babas have currants or raisins baked in the buttery yeast dough. The recipe uses a savarin dough without raisins, and bakes the dough in individual molds that resemble miniature tube pans. (Baba molds come in two shapes, one is a small timbale shape, the other a miniature ring mold.) You may also use a large muffin pan. The individual pastries are soaked in the pineapple-rum syrup used to roast the pineapple, then filled with lightly sweetened, vanilla-scented whipped cream, topped with a wedge of spiced roasted pineapple and surrounded with diced roasted pineapple. We recommend making a double batch of the baba or savarin dough and freezing it in a heavy gauge self-sealing plastic bag.
- Dark Brown Sugar - 1 cup, packed
- Pineapple Juice - 2 cups
- Dark aged Jamaican rum - 1/2 cup
- Banana puree - 1 cup (about 3 ripe bananas pureed in food processor)
- Vanilla bean - 1, split, seeds scraped
- Fresh peeled ginger - 3 slices
- Pineapple - 1 firm but ripe whole medium, 3-1/2 to 4 pounds, peeled and cored
- Rum Babas (recipe follows) - 8, individual
- Heavy Cream
- Sugar - 2 tablespoons
- Vanilla - 1 teaspoon
- Spun sugar straws - optional
- Rum Baba (Makes 7 to 8 cups of dough)
- Active Dry Yeast - 1 package (2-1/2 teaspoons)
- Warm Water - 1/4 cup (approximately 110 degrees F)
- Warm Milk - 1/2 cup (110 degrees F)
- Eggs - 2 large, beaten
- Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Lemon zest - 1/2 teaspoon
- Orange Zest - 1 teaspoon
- Bread flour - 1-1/4 cups
- All-Purpose Flour - 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Unsalted Butter - 6 tablespoons, melted
- Unsalted butter - as needed, for molds
- Pineapple-rum roasting syrup
- Aged Jamaican rum - 1/4 cup
In a heavy gauge non-reactive 2-1/2 quart saucepan, caramelize brown sugar over medium heat, tilting pan and stirring until sugar melts and browns but does not burn. Remove from heat and add pineapple juice and rum carefully as contents of pan will splatter. Return to heat and stir until caramelized sugar is dissolved. Add banana puree, split vanilla bean and its seeds and ginger. Cook, stirring, until syrup is well mixed and reaches a boil. Add the whole, peeled, cored pineapple, standing upright in the saucepan. Place pan in a preheated 350 degree F oven and roast pineapple for about 20 minutes, basting with the syrup frequently.
Remove from oven. Carefully lift pineapple from syrup onto plate. When cool enough to handle, slice pineapple in half lengthwise. Then slice 8 lengthwise wedges to top babas. Dice the remaining pineapple and mix in a small bowl with a tablespoon or two of the roasting syrup.
Whip cream, sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. Reserve; keep chilled.
To serve: On each of 8 individual dessert plates, place one rum syrup-soaked baba. Fill center with whipped cream. (If you have baked the babas in muffin tins, then top the finished dessert with the cream.) Lay one wedge of pineapple on top of the baba. If desired, stick a small straw of spun sugar in either end. Scatter chopped roasted pineapple around the plate. Drizzle with a little of the pineapple roasting syrup.
In a large bowl or mixer bowl dissolve yeast in water by whisking. Add milk, beaten eggs, and sugar, whisking to dissolve. Add lemon and orange zest. Add the flours, mixing either by hand with a large spoon or by using the dough hook of the mixer until the dough comes together and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Slowly add butter, stirring to incorporate. Knead dough in bowl with dough hook or by hand until it is smooth and satiny, about 8 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. Dough should be thin and soft but not sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a sheet of waxed paper and let stand in a warm place (approximately 80 degrees F) until dough is doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour, and an indentation made by pressing your index finger into the dough remains.
Meanwhile, butter very thoroughly 8 individual ring molds..
Knead dough down and fill a large pastry bag fitted with the largest tube. Squeeze dough into the ring molds or into muffin pans. It should come halfway up the mold. Alternately, you can drop about 1/2 cup of dough by evenly spaced spoonfuls into the molds and smooth out with a small spatula. (Place unused dough in a heavy self-sealing plastic bag, squeeze out air, seal and freeze for later use.) Cover molds with sheets of waxed paper and let rise until doubled. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until the babas are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 18 to 25 minutes. Remove molds from oven. Unmold onto a rack and let cool. When completely cool, slice off bottoms and discard. Mix the reserved pineapple rum syrup (from the roasted pineapple) with the 1/4 cup of Jamaican rum and pour into a glass baking dish large enough to hold the babas. Soak the babas on the cut side until the syrup is absorbed, then turn over and soak on the other side until saturated. Place on a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet until ready to finish assembling the dessert.