I apologise in advance for 2 things. One, this recipe looks more complicated than it really is. You will need to make a sweet, yeast dough, then a chocolate filling and then a sugar syrup. However, it takes no more than 1 hour of work altogether. I promise that’s a small price to pay for this beauty.
My second apology is on account of enabling your next addiction. Seriously, chocolate lovers – meet your gateway drug. And more. It’s every bit as wonderful as the name suggests; Elaine Benes would probably freak out over it. (Damn it, I promised I’d avoid the Seinfeld references, but I couldn’t help it. Just one though, I swear.)
My chocolate, pistachio and pecan krantz cake (or babka) is adapted from Honey & Co’s The Baking Book. I used a slightly larger amount of chocolate in the filling. More chocolate is always a good thing, okay? I also replaced the hazelnuts in the original recipe with pistachios and pecans because – you guessed it – that was in my cupboard. The moral of the story here is that nuts work. Hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, go nuts, it’ll be fine. And the result is a wonderfully glossy, crunchy topped, twisted loaf – you’ll find it difficult to stop at one.
To make the sweet, yeast dough, you’ll need:
2 teaspoons dried instant yeast
330g strong white bread flour
40g caster sugar
1 whole egg
85ml milk, at room temperature or heated for a few seconds in the microwave
90g unsalted butter, at room temperature
a pinch of salt
Combine flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Separately, dissolve the yeast in the milk, then add to the flour.
Add the butter as well and mix until dough comes together in a ball, about 5 minutes on a medium speed.
Cover bowl with cling film and place in fridge for a minimum of 6 hours. I make the dough in the evening and finish the babka the next morning.
For the chocolate krantz filling, you’ll need:
100g unsalted butter
190g caster sugar
120g dark chocolate (I use 70%)
40g dark cocoa powder
70g roasted pistachios + pecans (or nuts of your choice), chopped roughly
Melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
Remove from heat, tip sugar in and stir to dissolve.
Add the chocolate and cocoa powder and mix to combine.
Leave aside (not in fridge) to cool while you’re rolling the dough.
Butter and line the long sides of a loaf tin with baking parchment. This will help lift the loaf out of the tin after baking.
To assemble the babka, remove the dough from the fridge and roll into a large rectangle on a floured surface. (Honey & Co says 50cm x 30cm, however I doubt I have that much room to roll dough. Mine was more like 35cm x 15cm and there was zilch wrong with that.)
Spread the filling in a thin layer, making sure to cover into the corners.
Sprinkle the pistachios and pecans evenly, then roll dough in tight log, starting with one of the longer sides.
If the dough is still chilled, slice log down the centre, using a sharp serrated knife or a pastry cutter.
If dough has softened while rolling, place log in the fridge for 10 minutes before slicing in 2 halves.
Place log halves cut side up on your surface.
Overlap halves at their middle point to form a rough cross.
Twist the strands over each other into a plait and place in loaf tin.
Allow to proof in a warm place for approx 2 hours until dough looks puffy and has increased in size.
In the mean time, preheat oven at 220C.
Brush surface of babka with egg wash and place in the oven.
Bake for 10 mins, then turn tin around for an even bake, giving it another 10 mins.
Reduce oven temperature at 190C and bake for another 10 minutes.
While babka bakes, make the sugar syrup.
Combine 100g caster sugar, 100ml water and 1 tablespoon honey in a small saucepan.
Bring to boil over medium heat, removing any foam that might form.
Remove from heat when all sugar has dissolved.
Remove babka from oven and pour sugar syrup on top immediately.
Allow to cool completely in the tin.
Your patience will be rewarded with most beautiful – and possibly shortest lived – chocolate krantz cake ever. Great for an indulgent breakfast, totally fine as dessert or afternoon snack or even midnight snack, because, who are we kidding here, I’m going to enjoy the heck out of every single bite, whatever the moment of the day.