A simple sweet bread made even better with chocolate and hazelnuts

Kitchen Cabinet: Lali Gonzalez, pastry chef at Michelin-starred The Greenhouse, gives babka a new twist

I am originally from Uruguay and traditionally our culture is focused around food. I enjoy cooking for family and friends and I am always that person who brings something to eat when visiting someone.

I picked this recipe because it’s delicious, easy to make and it is returning in popularity around the world. It is also perfect to bring with you if you are visiting a friend.

I love to read about the history of dishes and this one is really interesting. Babka is a very old, traditional recipe, originally from the Jewish community, but adapted over time because of European influences. This is why my recipe has butter (for me butter makes everything better), while the traditional recipe does not require any dairy. I made both versions for the first time during lockdown, just to try it. Both are really good, but of course I prefer the version with butter.

Lali Gonzalez is senior pastry chef at The Greenhouse restaurant in Dublin.

Nutella Babka

Makes one

Ingredients

For the dough:
220g strong flour
75g melted butter
75g milk
30g caster sugar
1 egg
7g yeast
3g salt

For the filling:
200g Nutella
50g toasted hazelnuts

For the syrup:
50g water
50g caster sugar

You will need a loaf tin, 22cm x 12cm, and a thermometer

Method

1 Warm the milk to approximately 35 degrees Celsius and mix in the dry yeast. Let the mixture sit until it starts to bubble.

2 In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar and salt.

3 Add the egg, the butter and milk with the yeast.

4 Knead the dough until it comes together, at the beginning it will be sticky and messy, but don’t add any more flour. Mix until you get a nice smooth dough.

5 Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and cover it with cling film. Let it prove at room temperature until it doubles in size.

6 Knock the dough back and wrap it in cling film and place it in the fridge for an hour so it is easier to work with it.

7 Roll the dough out to 3mm thickness and shape it as a rectangle, spread it with the Nutella, sprinkle the toasted hazelnuts on top.

8 To shape the babka, roll the dough carefully, starting from the wider side of the dough, and cut it in half lengthwise and braid it gently.

9 Line a loaf tin with parchment paper and carefully place the babka into the loaf tin, tucking the ends underneath. Cover the loaf tin with a tea towel and let it prove for an hour. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

10 Bake the babka for 40-45 minutes. While the babka is baking, make the syrup. Bring the sugar and water to a simmmer. Remove from the heat but keep it warm.

11 As soon as the babka is baked, brush it with the warm syrup. Let it cool down a bit before you take it out from the tin. Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland, who have come together during the coronavirus outbreak to share some of the easy, tasty things that they like to cook and eat at home #ChefsAtHome

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