Amalfi Ristorante’s Baba Al Limoncello
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ pound butter, softened
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup limoncello
- 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in 2 tablespoons of warm water and let it sit for several minutes until it starts to bubble. Blend the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Mix the beaten eggs with the dissolved yeast. With the food processor running, pour all the liquid into the flour and process for approximately 20 seconds. Stiff dough will gather on the blade.
Drop in the soft butter and process for another 20 to 30 second until it is fully incorporated. Turn the soft dough out, knead by hand briefly to form a smooth round and drop it into a lightly buttered bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let rise for approximately 30 minutes—it does not need to double.
Butter the baba molds. Deflate the dough and cut it into 12 equal pieces—about 2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a round to fill bundt forms or into a short rope for tube forms. Let the babas expand to fill the molds, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 300 F arranging two racks if necessary. Bake the babas for 15 to 20 minutes or so until they are dark gold on top. Turn them out of the pans and cool.
In a wide pot bring the water, lemon juice and sugar to a full boil. Add the limoncello and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and immediately push as many babas as will fit into the hot syrup and weight with a plate or pot cover to keep them submerged. When they have soaked up enough syrup to expand, about 10 minutes, remove them from the pot and drain on a wire rack set over a dish. If you have more baba to soak, heat the syrup to the boil again, then submerge another batch.
Serve the soaked babas within a short time or set them in a pan, sitting in a shallow layer of syrup to stay moist. For serving, slice them in half lengthwise and spoon in your filling. If you like, drizzle some warm syrup over the top.