chocolate tahini babka

Last year inspired by a Honey and Co recipe, I made a batch of
chocolate tahini buns and they were so good my neighbours are still talking about them. On Saturday I decided to turn the bun recipe into a babka.

The dough is really easy to put together so I made the dough in the morning; let it rest in the fridge for a few hours; shaped the babka in the afternoon; let the shaped babka rest in the fridge overnight before baking it on Sunday morning.

I shared it with my neighbours who were just as enthusiastic with the babka as they were with the chocolate tahini buns.

Here's the recipe if you'd like to give it a try which makes one large babka. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Chocolate Tahini Halva Babka inspired by a Honey and Co recipe
90g diced unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tsp dried yeast
1 egg
40g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
100 - 125 mls milk
330g plain flour
A pinch of table salt

Place the butter, yeast, egg, sugar, vanilla and 100 mls of the milk in a large mixing bowl, then top with the flour and salt. Use the dough attachment on your mixer or your hands to bring it all together to a smooth, shiny dough, adding the remaining 20g/mls of milk if it looks dry. Don’t worry too much if you still have some whole flecks of butter running through the dough; they will make your final bun super-light.

Once the dough has a nice texture to it (after about 2–3 minutes with an electric mixer or 5–6 minutes working by hand), wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. You can leave it there for up to 12 hours, but not much longer or it will start to double in size.

½ cup chocolate tahini spread 
50g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
75g halva, crumbled
Sea salt flakes
1-2 tbs cream or milk 
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 batch base sugar syrup (recipe follows)

Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle of about 40cm x 30cm. Spread the tahini mixture over the dough, reaching right to the corners, then sprinkle with chocolate and halva and a sprinkling of sea salt. Roll up tightly from one of the longer sides, so that you end up with a 40cm-long log.

If the dough has softened too much for you to handle it, place on a tray and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up. While you are waiting, butter a 1kg loaf tin and line the base and long sides with baking parchment, making sure that there is an overhang so that you will be able to lift the baked loaf out easily.

Use a pastry cutter or sharp knife to cut the log in half along its length to expose the layers. Place the halves with the cut sides facing upwards. Lift one halved log over the other so that they form a cross at their midpoints, with the filling layers still pointing upwards. Continue to twist the strands over each other until the dough looks like a lovely twisted plait.

Place in the lined baking tin and leave to prove in a warm place until the dough is fluffy, soft and doubled in size. This will take about 1 and 1⁄2 hours in a warm kitchen, or up to 2 hours if it is chilly.

Preheat the oven to 220°C conventional. Brush the surface of the babka with cream or milk then sprinkle the top of with the sesame seeds. Place the babka in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 190°C. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the tin around for an even bake and leave for another 10 minutes. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the babka is well browned and cooked through. 
Remove the babka from the oven and immediately pour the sugar syrup all over the hot cake. You must let this cool in the tin or it will fall apart. 

Base sugar syrup
100g/mls water
100g granulated sugar
15 mls light corn syrup or honey

Place all the ingredients in a small pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, skim off any foam that comes to the top and remove from the heat. If you are making a larger quantity (a litre or more), bring to the boil, skim and cook for 3–4 minutes, then allow to cool. You can make this syrup in advance — just keep it in a jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

The perfect morning tea, a slice of still warm babka served with a nice cup of tea. 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 

Bye for now,


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