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Dec 4, 2008 05:58 PM


I have always liked the dessert called "Savarin", i.e. Baba au Rhum baked in a ring mould. When I saw it recently in Pierre Hermé's "Chocolate Desserts" cook book, I decided to try it out as it seemed to be so simple (done in a mixer). After a couple of iterations I have a few questions that I hope some Chowhouds can help me with.

1) With 180 gms of flour the recipe uses 6 eggs and 2.5 ounces of butter. I find the texture of the cake too light as I am used to a denser cake. I was thinking of cutting back on the eggs and increasing the amount of butter to, say, 4 eggs and 5 ounces of butter. Opinions? Another recipe I have does something like this.

2) In order to have enough syrup, and ensure that it was sweet enough, I had to double the amount of water and triple the amount of sugar. I am now satisfied with the sweetness level, but one of my taste testers says that it is too watery. How can I make the syrup denser without making it sweeter? If I boil it down a bit I may not have enough syrup. Maple syrup was suggested, but I find it too sickly sweet. Opinions?

I am pleased to report that no one complained that there was too much rum! However, I was thinking of using instead a combination of orange juice and Grand Marnier.

Hermé serves it with chocolate whipping cream, which I don't think I would do; I prefer Chantilly with this one.

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  1. Hi, Souschef! Why am I not surprised to find you while looking for inspiration to make a better savarin au rhum?

    I made Ina Garten's recipe once (maybe twice), and it was quite good, but I am looking for a bit more elasticity in the bread. A bit more chew. So I'm thinking of adding a tablespoon, maybe two, of gluten to the mix. Or maybe kneading the dough for say 10 minutes? What do you think?

    On the subject of watery syrup, yes, I did notice that, but I found it wasn't so apparent after the bread had been glazed with apricot jam. Still, a richer syrup would be nice. . . I was thinking about adding some corn or golden syrup as a thickener.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pilinut

      Pilinut, I just checked RLB's recipe for brioche. Very detailed (no surprise), and has to be made over 2 days. I'm going to try it first for savarin, then for Brioche Polonaise.

      1. re: souschef

        Is this the recipe in The Cake Bible? I have a 15-year old copy, and have been meaning to give the recipe a try. My problem is my savoring ring is in California. I have a kugelhopf mold that might need 2 recipes to fill, but am leery botching up a double batch.

        Let me know how it works out!

        1. re: pilinut

          Yes, it's in The Cake Bible.

          Why don't you make a single recipe in the mold you have? Savarin is not high, so does not have to fill the mold.

    2. Hey Pilinut, good to see you here; first reply in over 5 years!

      Why are you not surprised to find me here? Guess you know my likes!

      AFAIK Ina Garten measures her dry ingredients in cups, so I would not try her recipes. BTW I recently saw a ridiculous recipe - it called for 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp of flour. Oh well, at least you have a source for good vanilla!

      I just looked again at the Hermé recipe. He has you beating the ingredients for a total of 6-8 minutes as you're adding them, then a full 10 minutes after, specifically to develop gluten. So, he has covered what you suggested. Adding gluten is an idea.

      I just remembered that I have a savarin recipe in a La Varenne book, so I should just give that a try before playing with quantities.

      As for the syrup, I think you could add corn or golden syrup, but I think you would have to do so in small quantities and do a lot of tasting.

      Now you've got me going....I want to make it again.

      EDIT: I was thinking of using a brioche recipe, then just discovered exactly that in TCB. I should follow RLB's recipe exactly.