The editors of Food & Wine magazine just launched a cookbook of their favorite dessert recipes. From seasonal favorites to holiday classics and modern spins on beloved ethnic sweets, this is one cookbook for everybody with a sweet tooth. This raisin walnut babka is a favorite in New York, and it’s about to be everywhere else too!
Melissa Weller of Sadelle’s in New York City swirls this light and buttery babka with a filling of dark raisins and walnuts and tops it with a luscious cinnamon glaze.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, preferably King Arthur
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 cup whole milk, warmed
- 1 packet dry active yeast
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
- 3 cups golden raisins, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup dark raisins, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained
- 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups confesctioners' sugar
For the dough
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the granulated sugar and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the milk with the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk and sprinkle the dry ingredients on top. Mix at low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix at medium speed until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Add all of the butter at once and mix at low speed until it is fully incorporated and a tacky dough forms, 3 minutes; scrape down the bowl as needed during mixing. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and coat the paper generously with nonstick spray. Scrape the dough out onto the parchment and cut the dough in half. Pat each piece into a neat square. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
For the filling
Combine all of the ingredients except the dark raisins and walnuts in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Coat two 9-by-4-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on each of the long sides. Roll out each square of dough to a 16-inch square. Using an offset spatula, spread all but ½ cup of the puree in an even layer over the dough squares to within ½ inch of the edges. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the dark raisins and toasted walnuts. Starting at the edge nearest you, tightly roll up each dough square jelly roll–style into a tight log. Using a sharp knife, cut the logs in half crosswise. Using an offset spatula, spread ¼ cup of the reserved filling on the top and sides of 2 of the halves. Set the other halves on top in the opposite direction to form a cross. Twist to form spirals and transfer to the prepared pans.
Using a sharp knife, cut the logs in half crosswise. Using an offset spatula, spread ¼ cup of the reserved filling on the top and sides of 2 of the halves. Set the other halves on top in the opposite direction to form a cross. Twist to form spirals and transfer to the prepared pans. Cover the loaves with a towel and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the loaves in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, until puffed and well browned. Let cool slightly, then use the parchment paper to lift them out of the pans and onto a rack set over a large rimmed baking sheet. Discard the paper.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter in the milk. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Spread the glaze on the warm babkas and let stand until set, about 30 minutes.