"This is a real adults' indulgence thanks to the rum," says Hird. "We use rhum agricole, which is made from freshly squeezed cane juice instead of molasses - it's got a lot more spice and is less sugary. Look out for it in good liquor shops and online."
- 65 ml milk
- 1/3 tsp dried yeast
- 165 gm plain flour
- 1/3 tsp caster sugar
- 2 large eggs (65gm each), at room temperature
- 65 gm butter, softened
- 35 gm raisins, soaked in 20ml golden rum (2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp orange marmalade
- 40 gm raisins or sultanas, plumped in warm water for 5 minutes, then drained (¼ cup)
- To serve: crème fraîche, seasonal berries, cherries or fruit
- 250 gm caster sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- Zested rind of ½ orange
- ½ each star anise, cinnamon quill, 2 bruised cardamom pod
- 50 ml golden rum, or to taste
- 1 bunch rhubarb, cut into 8cm pieces (about 600 gm)
- 150 gm caster sugar
- Zested rind of 1 orange
- 1 star anise
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- 1Warm milk in a saucepan over medium heat to 38C, then combine half with yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk to dissolve yeast.
- 2Attach dough hook and add flour and sugar to yeast mixture then mix on medium setting until combined (2-3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time until incorporated and dough is smooth, then add butter a little at a time until dough is smooth and elastic, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Incorporate remaining milk and rum-soaked raisins. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size (1-1½ hours).
- 3Preheat oven to 210C. Knock back dough, then half-fill six 170ml-capacity buttered round stainless-steel moulds (6.5cm diameter x 6cm high) with dough (70gm each), flatten with the back of a teaspoon and smooth with a damp finger. Cover with a tea towel and prove until doubled in size (30 minutes). Bake until puffed and golden around the sides (15-20 minutes).
- 4Meanwhile, for spiced syrup, combine sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, zested rind, spices and 500ml water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stir to dissolve and add rum to taste.
- 5Turn hot babas out of moulds and place in warm syrup in batches to soak until they have absorbed syrup to the core, turning to coat (3-4 minutes). Place on a rack to drain excess syrup and cool (30 minutes). The babas can also be cooled then frozen for later use; simply defrost in the fridge overnight and warm in a low oven.
- 6Meanwhile, for baked rhubarb, reduce oven to 175C. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and allow to steep for an hour to release some of the juice from the rhubarb. Pour the fruit and juice into a non-reactive baking dish, spread out evenly and bake, covered with foil until just cooked (15-20 minutes). Set aside to cool.
- 7Warm marmalade and 1 tsp water in a small saucepan over low heat, add sultanas and their rum, then brush over babas and serve with vanilla cream or crème fraîche, seasonal berries, cherries, or fruits and baked rhubarb.
Drink Suggestion: Laurent Cazottes Goutte de Mauzac Rose Eau de Vie.