Citrus season will come to an end soon in the Bay Area that means end of the mandarins, Cara Cara, Blood Orange varieties, and that makes me very sad! I have been totally smitten by the cara cara especially, this year, and we have eaten way too many of this amazing variety! I have been making a Navel/Seville Orange and Cardamom Marmalade since 3 years now, that has been very popular on my Etsy page, but this year I decided to play with the Cara Cara Orange in the marmalade. I made the cara cara and orange marmalade, and boy oh boy, the flavor is amped up so much, and the marmalade is very flavorful!! This variety of the orange and cardamom work so well together! The combination is completely sublime and delicious! I will be sharing my recipe for the marmalade soon! The fragrance of the citrus in my kitchen when I am making the marmalade is heavenly, and I cannot get enough of it! For now, in the babka recipe, you could use a normal orange marmalade, and sprinkle cardamom powder on the babka once you have layered the orange marmalade.
Babka is a sweet leavened bread that has swirled layers of chocolate as the most popular babka. Yeast is used to give the babka that puffy rise and soft pillowy texture inside. It is very popular in Jewish bakeries and made especially during Easter, to celebrate the birth of Christ. I have had this combination in my mind for a while now, and I was really excited to work on it. I used 2 components : Pistachio Praline and Cara Cara Orange and Cardamom Marmalade to make this babka. The babka dough itself is flavored with orange zest and cardamom powder.
The pistachio praline is made by making pistachio brittle, and then grinding it in the food processor to make a fine paste. I had to add a little bit of olive oil to it pliable. I have taken steps of how I made the babka, and I hope they are useful for you. The process needs to start the previous evening, make the dough, which does not take time at all, let the dough rest overnight in the fridge, and make the babka the next morning, let it rest again for about 2 hours, for the yeast to do its job, and then bake! The beautiful bake gets an amazing crust that is so pretty to look at ! The aroma that is in the kitchen with the orange marmalade and cardamom is intoxicating !
The babka is wonderful with a cuppa tea or coffee, in the mornings and it has so much flavor cause of the swirled layers. Each bite has flavor, and it all works together with the pistachio praline and the marmalade.
We have another 2 weeks with Cara Cara Oranges, and the reason is over. 🙁 I will have to wait for till next year for them to come in season ! I am enjoying the last of the oranges with juices, in salads, bakes, marmalades. But I am looking forward to berries and stone fruits! 🙂 Such a beautiful time of the year indeed!
If you do make this recipe, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment below on this blog post!
Thanks for reading dear friends!
- For the Orange and Cardamom Dough:
- (Makes 2 babka loaves)
- 1 cup whole milk, warmed in the microwave for 35-40 seconds
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- 1 heapful teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- Pistachio Praline Paste:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup shelled and toasted pistachios
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Orange and Cardamom Marmalade:
- I will put up the marmalade recipe. I need to measure out a smaller batch.
- Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tbsp of water)
- For the time being, you can use 2 cups of orange marmalade for 2 babkas, and sprinkle 1 tbsp ground cardamom on each babka.
- Pistachio Praline Paste:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a dry heavy saucepan cook sugar over moderate heat, stirring with a fork, until melted and cook, without stirring, swirling pan, just until a golden caramel. Add pistachios and salt, stirring until coated well. Immediately pour mixture onto baking sheet and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Chop
- the praline into pieces with a sharp knife.
- Pistachio Praline Paste: In a food processor, add in the pistachio praline and blend till a smooth paste is formed to make the hazelnut praline paste. Add in the olive oil to make it a smooth paste.
- Babka Method:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the warm milk, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the yeast. Mix at low speed just until combined. Let stand in the bowl until the mixture is foamy, frothy for about 7 minutes.
- Now add the remaining sugar and salt. Mix well at medium speed. Add the 4 lightly beaten eggs into the mixture and mix well at medium speed for a minute. Add in the vanilla extract, cardamom powder and orange zest and mix. Switch to a dough hook and add the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition at low to medium-low speed until combined. Knead for 5 more minutes.
- Add the butter one cube at a time and mix continuously after each addition, until the butter is incorporated into the dough for about 2 minutes. Mix another minute, for a total of 3 to 4 minutes. It will be a sticky dough at first, but it will become a smooth, elastic ball that clears the side of the bowl and sticks at the bottom a bit.
- Scrape the dough into a large mixing bowl that has been greased with melted butter or non stick spray. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Cover with a large kitchen towel and set aside in a warm area in the kitchen. Let rise for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size. Now let it rest in the fridge for an hour.
- Spray 2 bread pans with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Cut 2 sheets of parchment paper into half; use one half to cover the bottom and sides of the pan lengthwise, with an overhang of twice the height of the sides. Make the other half to cover the bottom and sides width-wise, with an overhang of twice the height of the sides. Repeat with the other pan.
- Lightly flour a work surface. Place the dough on it and divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll each into an 8-inch by 14-inch rectangle. Spread half the pistachio praline evenly over the entire dough. Spread 1 cup of the orange marmalade on the dough. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of cardamom powder over the entire dough.
- Start rolling the dough tightly from the long side until it forms a jelly roll about 18 inches long by rolling it back and forth. Gently slit it all the way from the center of the roll, all the way to the bottom of the roll. Clasp the top end to bind it together. Start braiding both ropes such that the slits can be seen on the top. Keep braiding till you reach the end, and form a clasp at the bottom to tighten it by pinching the end.
- Do the same with the second babka.
- Add the braided babkas to the loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and cover the babkas. Let the dough rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm area in the kitchen until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the babkas with egg wash(mix 1 egg with 1 tbsp water and mix in a small bowl). Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are firm, they are golden-brown in color and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of a babka comes out without any dough on it. Cool the babka in the pan for about 15 minutes. Gently remove the babka with the paper overhangs and cool on a cooling rack.