• Wallowing Kings sanction great desserts! Babà Mania!

    Who here was raised in the 1970's? What about those living in Naples?

    Well, I was neither born in that decade, nor am I currently living in my home town any more. Nope, this is me just asking the question because if you were/are in either category then you will know what a Rum Babà is. That's right another food post, but stick with me, I promise, the history of this gem is brilliant.

    It starts with a king 

    King Stanislao Leszczinski to be precise. It was the 1700's and he basically picked a fight with Russia, and lost. Now, unlike most other kings who would retire to private quarters and sulk, he surrounded himself with scholars and artists etc and tried to get better at, "lots of different things". This in turn made him, 'slightly alcoholic'.

    As he proceeded to wallow away and throw his weight around, he asked for a dessert which would "take away all the pain". The speciality at the time was something called a kugelhupf. Basically a light, spongy cake but bland and no taste.

    Babà Napoletano

    You know what happens next... 

    Yes you might have guessed. As with the Pandoro legend, someone in the kitchen manages to knock over a bottle of the King's favourite drink, Rum. It coated the cakes and gave them a different texture and colour. The King was so delighted with the dessert it soon became a favourite of the royal household.

    And why's it called Babà? Well, it seems the scholars did do something good after all. They made the King read "1001 Nights" (which everyone should read!) and in honour of it's main protagonist, Ali  Babà , he called the rum soaked kugelhupf,  Babà!

    Because chefs were regularly exchanged between royal households, it didn't take too long until the dessert made it's way to Naples, and soon became a favourite of the partenopei people.

    It's a bit like Worcestershire sauce really, isn't it?! 

    And so there you have it, a wallowing King and a slip of the bottle, and you have a "new" dessert. My culinary fortunes have only come about with Worcestershire sauce with cheese on toast one night at university, drunk. Oh well... 

    4 comments → Wallowing Kings sanction great desserts! Babà Mania!

    1. How fun, I loved hearing about the history of this dessert. To be honest I had never heard of it before, but I will take the time to find the recipe. Thanks for sharing. :-),
      Susan Cooper from LinkedIn BHB

    2. Thanks Susan! Much appreciated, apparently it's a boil the pastry before baking type of dish! Hope you find the right recipe :)

    3. I've not heard this story before, I love Rum Babas though :-) oh and in answer to your first question I was raised in the 70's but never lived in Naples :-)

    4. Great story about the dessert. A good name for the new dessert. I never heard of it before.

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