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    Rum babà

    This sweet treat is typical of Campania.

    Serves 8-10

    • 60 ml (1/2 cup) milk, at room temperature
    • 2 tsp dried yeast
    • 320g plain flour
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla paste
    • 4 large eggs, beaten
    • 110 g butter
    • 150 ml thickened cream
    • 300g fresh fruit (either raspberries or strawberries)

    For the cream:
    • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
    • 6 egg yolks
    • 120g caster sugar
    • 35g cornflour
    • 20g plain flour
    • 20g butter, diced

    For the syrup:
    • 600g caster sugar
    • 2 tbsp apricot jam
    • 60 ml golden rum

    1. Mix milk and yeast in a bowl and set aside until foamy, which should take roughly 5 minutes.
    2. Put flour and a large pinch of salt in an electric mixer, add vanilla paste, eggs and milk mixture and beat to combine. While the motor is still running, gradually add the butter a little bit at a time until it’s all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a buttered bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm place until it has doubled in size, which should take roughly 1- 1 ½ hours.
    4. For the crema (cream), bring milk and vanilla paste to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk sugar and yolks in a bowl until pale, then whisk in the corn flour and plain flour until well combined. Slowly add hot milk, whilst whisking continuously, then return mixture to pan and whisk occasionally until the mixture is thick, which will take roughly 3-5 minutes. Whisk in butter and transfer to a container, and cover surface directly with plastic cling wrap to prevent a crusty skin from forming on the custard. Allow to cool, and refrigerate for about an hour, until the custard is firm.
    5. Preheat oven to 190°C. Knock back dough, then break off pieces and press evenly into a buttered 2-litre Bundt cake tin, then set aside until doubled in size (20 minutes).
    6. Bake the cake until it has risen and is a deep golden colour, which should take roughly 35-45 minutes.
    7. When you place a skewer in the cake, it should come out clean with no mixture. Remove the cake from the oven, turn out on to a wire rack to cool, then place in a wide deep dish.
    8. For the rum syrup, bring sugar, jam and 400ml of water to the boil in a saucepan.
    9. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then add rum, carefully pour all over the cake and let it stand, soaked for 1 hour. Leave some of the syrup to pour over just as you are about to serve.
    10. To serve, whisk the crema to soften. Whisk the thickened cream to medium peaks and fold into the crema, then spoon it into the centre of the cake. Decorate with fresh fruit, and pour left over syrup.