Cinnamon Cajeta & Apple Babka

Adapted from: Cloudy Kitchen

Yield: 2 loaves

Brioche Dough

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ tsp dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 cup + 1 ½ Tbsp (250g) whole milk, lukewarm (110–115°F)
  • 4 Tbsp (50g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 cups + 11 Tbsp (565g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 7 Tbsp (100g) unsalted butter, cubed & room temperature

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together yeast, lukewarm milk, and 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar. Mix well and leave undisturbed for about 10 minutes until the mixture gets foamy.
  2. In your mixer bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar, flour, and salt.
  3. Add foamy yeast mixture, eggs, and vanilla. Attach dough hook, then mix on low until the dough starts to come together, 2–3 minutes.
  4. Increase speed to medium and knead dough until it’s smooth and soft, about 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add butter to bowl a cube or two at a time, allowing buttery addition to be fully incorporated before adding the next.
    NOTE: This will take a few minutes to properly add the butter.
  6. Once butter is fully incorporated, increase mixer speed to medium. Knead dough until very smooth and soft, about 5 minutes.
  7. Tip dough out onto a clean work surface and form into a ball. Put back into mixing bowl. Cover bowl with beeswax wrap or cling film and place in fridge to proof overnight.

Apple Filling

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs (900g) apples, peeled, cored, and diced*
  • 5 Tbsp (70g) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

*We used Honeycrisp apples.

Directions:

  1. The next day—while your dough is still in the fridge—it’s apple filling time! In a medium pot over medium-low heat, combine all apple filling ingredients. Stirring frequently, cook apples until they are tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet or other container. Allow to cool completely.
    NOTE: The wetter the filling, the more challenging it’ll be to form the babka, so you may want to drain the apple filling before placing it into the rimmed baking sheet. 

Assembly

Caramel Filling:

  • 6 Tbsp Fat Toad Farm Cinnamon Cajeta (Goat’s Milk Caramel), divided

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp water

Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp Fat Toad Farm Cinnamon Cajeta (Goat’s Milk Caramel), divided

Directions:

  1. Grease and line two loaf pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Retrieve dough from fridge and punch it down to release excess gas build-up.
  3. Divide dough into two equal pieces. (Each piece will weigh about 530g.) Place one dough blob on a lightly floured surface. Cover the other dough blob with a clean dish towel.
  4. Roll dough into a 12" x 12" square. Using an offset spatula, spread 3 tablespoons of cinnamon goat’s milk caramel onto dough, leaving a bare 0.5–1" border.
  5. Sprinkle half of apple filling over caramel, then gently press filling into the caramel.
  6. Roll dough into a log, making sure to keep roll tight and even. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Place seam side down on work surface.
  7. Using a sharp knife, cut babka log lengthwise. Cross one side over the over, then repeat 2–3 times. Pinch ends together.
    NOTE: This article from King Arthur and this video from Red Star Yeast may come in handy here. This is absolutely a messy process, but just hold the dough together the best you can. Even if you end up with caramelly hands, trust us—it’ll be worth it!
  8. Place babka into prepared loaf pan. Cover lightly with cling film.
    NOTE: If any apples fell out when you were twisting the babka, you can just toss ‘em on top before covering with cling film.
  9. Repeat process with second dough blob.
  10. Place pans in a warm, dry spot and leave undisturbed for 50–60 minutes.
  11. While babkas are proofing, move one oven rack to middle and one to the bottom. Place baking sheet on bottom rack to catch any drippage. Heat oven to 350°F.
  12. When babkas are ready, lightly brush loaves with egg wash.
    NOTE: Babkas are ready when the dough springs back slowly after being gently poked with your finger.
  13. Bake for 35–45 minutes or until golden brown. (The internal temperature should be about 200°F.)
  14. Remove loaves from oven and brush each babka with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon goat’s milk caramel.

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