Maple, apple, pecan, and cinnamon wrapped up in a soft and sweet brioche dough and baked to perfection. What could possibly be better for a lazy autumn day?
This babka is such a treat. It takes a bit of time (and upper body strength to roll out the rich dough!), but it is so, so worth it. Even my boyfriend, who usually doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, raved about this treat.
This babka is so beautiful, it’s the perfect thing to give as a gift or bring to a potluck!
While babkas may look a bit complex, they’re actually not to hard to assemble! Here’s a quick guide for filling and shaping babka.
After the dough has risen and come to room temperature if you refrigerated it overnight, cut the dough into two halves, and roll the first half into a large rectangle. As you can see from the picture above, the rectangle doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t worry if yours is a bit wonky!
Next, spread the cinnamon-maple-pecan mixture over the rectangle, leaving a roughly 1 inch border around the edges.
Sprinkle the apples over the cinnamon sugar topping.
Carefully roll the dough into a long log, like you would if you were making cinnamon rolls.
Trim excess dough off the ends of the log.
Using a sharp knife, cut the babka down the middle to create two equal halves. This is where things get a bit messy!
Twist the two halves together, and pinch the ends to form a simple, two strand braid.
Place in prepared loaf tins, and repeat for the second half of the dough.
Check out the recipe below for the rest of the instructions. Happy baking!
Maple Apple Pecan Babka
Yields 2 loaves.
- 2 packages active dry yeast (14 g)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 large Granny Smith, Gala, or Honeycrisp apple, peeled, diced, and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
Make the dough
- In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt.
- In the microwave, heat milk until it is warm, but not hot, to the touch (about 110-115° F). Add yeast to the warm milk and let sit until bubbly and frothy, about 10 minutes.
- In a mixer with the bread hook attachment, combine sugar, eggs, and yeast mixture and whisk to combine slightly. Using the bread hook, add flour, a cup at a time. If dough is still a bit sticky, add another 1/2 cup of flour. If it becomes too dry before you’ve added all the flour, start incorporating some of the butter.
- Add the butter, about 2 tbsp at a time, until incorporated.
- Continue kneading for 5 minutes. The dough is ready once the it is smooth and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- Lightly oil a large bowl with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Place dough in the bowl, flipping to cover it with the oil. Place plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel over the bowl.
- Let rise in a warm spot for 1 or 1 1/2 hours, or let rise overnight in the fridge. Dough should double in size. If you let dough rise in the fridge, punch down dough and let it come to room temperature before using.
- Prepare filling about 20-30 minutes before you’re ready to work with the risen dough (recipes at bottom of page).
- Divide the dough into two equal halves. On a floured surface, roll the first half into a large rectangle about 12″x16″ in measurement.
- Leaving a 1 inch border, spread half the cinnamon sugar pecan mixture over the rectangle. Next, evenly sprinkle half the apples on top of the sugar.
- Roll the rectangle lengthwise. Trim excess dough from the ends of the roll. Cut the roll in half lengthwise to create two equal halves.
- Twist the two halves together, pinching the ends together to seal them.
- Repeat with second half of the dough.
- Line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper, and place 1 formed loaf into each pan.
- Let babkas rise in the pans for an additional 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350° F 30 minutes before babkas are done rising.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the babka comes out clean. If babka begins to get too brown on top, tent foil over top.
- Brush babka with maple syrup while it is hot. Remove from pan and set on cooling rack.
- Let cool, and enjoy!
Make the filling
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Melt 1-2 tsp butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Add apples, 1 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg, and cook until apple is tender and the juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Meanwhile, place pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until aromatic, about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on the nuts for they can quickly go from toasted to burnt! Remove and cool completely.
- In a bowl, mix together the sugar, nuts, butter, maple syrup, and 1 tsp cinnamon until combined and mostly smooth.