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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> What is a Babka?

Babka is associated with the Eastern European Jewish tradition. This babka is made from a doubled and twisted length of yeast dough and is typically baked in a high loaf pan. Instead of a fruit filling the dough contains cinnamon or chocolate.

The babka is usually topped with streusel. A similar cake called a kokosh is also popular in Jewish bakeries. Kokosh also comes in chocolate and cinnamon varieties, but it is lower and longer than babka, is not twisted, and not topped with streusel.

Babka of this style has become popular in North American cities with large Jewish populations, including Montreal, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Toronto.

There also exists a traditional Eastern European Jewish variety prepared during Passover in lieu of bread. Generally, this sort is not sweet and is prepared using crushed matzos with water, egg, and salt. Some Polish Jews refer to pancakes with these ingredients as bubbeleh, a name similar to babka.

Babka, or Bobka, also known as baba, is a sweet yeast cake.

Origins

A legend tells that it was accidentally invented by the Polish king Stanisław Leszczyński while on exile. The king was very fussy with fruit cakes that were served to him, claiming they were too dry. He poured some rum over one cake he was served and after tasting it, he was so pleased that he ordered his cooks to add some rum to the dough. The name “babka” comes from Ali-Baba, as the King first called it the “Ali-Baba” cake. He called it that because of the high dry fruit and nut content, ingredients associated at that time with Arabian countries such as Turkey (trade with middle eastern countries was at the time conducted mostly via Turkey, which was at the time Ottoman Empire).

Jewish version: chocolate babka, with streusel

Another version of babka is associated with the Eastern European Jewish tradition. This babka is made from a doubled and twisted length of yeast dough and is typically baked in a high loaf pan. Instead of a fruit filling the dough contains cinnamon or chocolate. The babka is usually topped with streusel. A similar cake called a kokosh is also popular in Jewish bakeries. Kokosh also comes in chocolate and cinnamon varieties, but it is lower and longer than babka, is not twisted, and not topped with streusel.

Babka of this style has become popular in North American cities with large Jewish populations, including Montreal, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Toronto.

There also exists a traditional Eastern European Jewish variety prepared during Passover in lieu of bread. Generally, this sort is not sweet and is prepared using crushed matzos with water, egg, and salt. Some Polish Jews refer to pancakes with these ingredients as bubbeleh, a name similar to babka.

Etymology

The Polish and Belarusian noun babka and the Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Russian baba means "grandmother," and as applied to the pastry probably refer to its shape, a tall cylinder, sometimes with corrugations resembling a skirt’s pleats.[2] The name of the pastry entered the English language from Polish, via French, although "babka" is also sometimes used in its original sense ("grandmother"), especially among those of Eastern European descent.

Sept 2005 - 2013 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods- Jewish Foods
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bagels.