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How to make rum babas, savarin-style

04 July 2012

Rum babas, or baba au rhum, are a traditional French dessert which brings together vanilla, lime, Chantilly cream and rum.

Rum baba
Rum baba

Cooking time

20 minutes

Drying time

24 hours


10-12, depending on the molds


  • 2 ½ cups (9 oz./250) g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) salt
  • 1 egg
  • Scant ½ cup (100 g) melted browned butter
  • ½ oz. (16 g) fresh yeast
  • ½ cup (125 ml) milk

For the rum syrup:

  • ¾ cup (200 ml) high-quality rum
  • 1 orange, preferably organic
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 lime, preferably organic
  • 4 cups (1 l) water
  • 2 ⅔ cups (500 g) sugar

For the Chantilly cream:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream, 30–35 percent butterfat
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
  • A few vanilla seeds

Special equipment needed:

  • Savarin molds


A day ahead, prepare the baba cakes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.

Incorporate the egg and melted butter.

In a smaller bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk.

Add the milk and yeast to the bowl with the dry ingredients, egg, and butter. Then move the mixing bowl near a heat source (a wall heater or radiator, for example) for about 20 minutes, so that the dough can rise. It should more than double in volume.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C).

Divide the dough among individual savarin molds. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown, and then turn them out of the molds. Leave to dry for 24 hours.

The next day, begin by making the rum syrup. Quarter the orange, slit the vanilla bean lengthwise, and grate the lime. Combine the rum, water, sugar, orange quarters, vanilla bean, and lime zest in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Pour the hot syrup over the babas, and feel free to add another dash of rum.

And since we said, “savarin-style,” we can’t forego the Chantilly cream! Combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla, and whisk together with an electric beater. When the Chantilly reaches the right consistency, dollop a little into the center of each baba.

French Bistro

French Bistro: Seasonal Recipes is an homage to the gastronomic bistro and features 60 hearty recipes using traditional methods and seasonal ingredients together with beautiful photography capturing the dishes themselves and the lively atmosphere of Parisian bistros. French Bistro is out now from Flammarion, 19.95.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.