This is some gourmet vegan stuff, man. The first babka (aka krantz loaf) I ever ate (I was vegetarian at the time) was from the restaurant Honey & Co, and it was sublime. This place has great vegetarian options by the way. So delicious was this knotty, crisp, sweet, ganachey celebration of cinnamon, that a few weeks later I endeavoured to make it with the help of David Lebovits’ blog. That was delicious too. Babkas- filled twisted plaits of rolled enriched dough- take a while to make, but all of the rolling and wrapping is really fun, and makes you feel like you’re on the Bake Off. For this reason I set my mind to making a refined-sugar-free and dairy-free version. The dough is enriched with oat milk and coconut oil, and the filling is the sort of appley jam you get in a pain aux raisins. It looks super cool, and you’d never guess that it’s not even unhealthy!
FOR THE DOUGH
- 1.5 tsp. dried yeast
- 70ml oat milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp. honey or agave
- 60g coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 110g plain flour
- 140g wholemeal bread flour
FOR THE SCRUMMY APPLEY FILLING
- 2 bramley cooking apples
- 50g raisins or sultanas
- 50g nuts of your choice (walnuts are really good)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Heat the oat milk in a pan or the microwave until it is lukewarm.
- Place in a large bowl with the yeast, honey, and 20g of the plain flour. Leave this to rest for about 15 minutes until little bubbles start to form.
- Add in your coconut oil and a pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Then add in your flours until it comes together as a dough. You can now tip it onto the surface and knead for 5 minutes until nice and smooth and elastic.
- Return to the bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (but as long as overnight if you like). This is to make the dough easy to work with.
- In the meantime, make the apple filling. Peel and chop your apples into small pieces. Place a large frying pan on the heat with a splash of any oil and fry the apples for 5 minutes, with the cinnamon. This helps to get a caramelly flavour. Add the raisins and about half a coffee mug of water and cook the apples down until they are mostly broken down into a thick pasty apple sauce. It’s nice to keep a few chunks in there, but you want this to be spreadable. If it’s too watery it will be soggy!
- Chop the nuts, and toast, if you like.
- Roll out your chilled dough to a roughly 30 x 50cm rectangle. Spread on the chilled apple filling and scatter the nuts on top. Start from a long edge, and begin to roll up.
- Once everything is in one big roll, take a sharp knife and cut directly down the centre to reveal all of the layers. Carefully twist these two halves around each other, keeping the cut sides facing up.
- Carefully place this into a greased baking tin- you might have to squish it up a bit. Cover, and prove somewhere warm for 2 hours until well risen.
- Bake in the oven at gas mark 5 for 45-50 minutes, covering it towards the end if it gets too brown.
- Remove from the oven, and brush with honey or agave, if you like, to help it become shiny.
- Once cooled completely (try to be patient!!), remove from the tin and show it off to all ya’ mates.