Until last week, I never heard of a savarin. It is ring-shaped yeast cake, doused with a sugar syrup (usually rum, but could be wine or even champagne), served with Chantilly cream, placed inside the ring. Savarin is sometimes called baba au rum cake or babka, although they have dried fruit in the dough and are not served with cream.
The savarin was named in honor of Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), an epicure and famous gastronome.
The Le Cordon Bleu at Home, the book we cook from for Whisk Wednesdays, listed what seemed to be fairly simple directions, although slapping dough against the wall of the bowl for a full five minutes is so very foreign to me. This is a very important part of making the dough. The dense cake is made with yeast which makes it perfect for a good drenching sweet syrup and apricot glaze. The original recipe calls for strawberries, but blueberries were a great buy at the market and I think they look rather striking with the kiwi.
It didn’t rise in the way I anticipated, but then I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to look like, and I never bothered to google images or information until after the fact. When the instructions called for putting most of the Chantilly cream, in the center of the ring shaped cake, I thought “surely” this can’t look too good. French pastry is so elegant and this looks a bit rustic but was rich and satisfying. It seems I got it right, and it was good enough that I am curious and want to make it again.
I got curious as to how others have prepared savarin and found a few very intriguing recipes using sweet wine and champagne.
Good to eat, and in hindsight, I would have left out those arms of cream.
Recipe (adapted from Le Cordon Bleu at Home)
Original title: Rum Savarin with Kiwi and Strawberries
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 ounce fresh yeast or 3/4 t dried yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
2 eggs (room temp)
5 T unsalted butter, softened
1 T sugar
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup dark rum
3/4 cup apricot glaze
2 kiiwifruit, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 pint strawberries, (I used blueberries)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 T confectioner’s sugar
1 t vanilla extract
Unsalted butter for savarin mold
Notes: Different from a cake, the savarin will be golden brown. The cake can be made in advance, but the Chantilly cream needs to be made right before serving.