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Make a baba au rhum like this baba au rhum à la framboise by pixamo.

I love it when a plan comes together. ~ George Peppard as “Hannibal” Smith of the A-Team

Are you a confident cook who’s not quite as sure about her baking skills?

That was my story once upon a time. And if that’s your story now, here’s one more from the history books, just for you:

It was about 2050 years ago when the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, learned Rome had defeated her forces. With her own capture and public disgrace imminent, she killed herself.

Not the very best plan B.

So, just a few years ago, before I attempted to bake a baba au rhum for the first time, I made a decision: That if the thing turned out lousy not only would I keep on living, I’d eat like a queen, too.

By getting pastries from the local French bakery, like I usually do.

Turns out I didn’t need to make the bakery run since the recipe I used from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris is ridiculously good and easy to prepare. (My only change was using a gluten-free baking mix instead of regular flour.)

I say “ridiculously” because the rum baba came out delicious for even me.

At that time, I was no “baker.”

Now, I did know how to bake a better-than-good sweet potato pie that I learned to whip up for family and friends. But no way did I “do” any other kind of pie, cake, or pastry.

And, by the way, that sweet potato pie of mine always came with a ready-made crust.

Nope. I didn’t “do” crusts either.

Could be I was still traumatized by the angel food cake I made from scratch when I was in grade school. That thing was so awful my own mother wouldn’t eat it.

It sat two weeks in the refrigerator like the horror it was before I finally admitted defeat and threw it away.

Yep, I have always LOVED to cook but I’d baked very little since “the cake.”

It’s part of the reason why I now get so much joy from baking simple sweets like madeleines and zalèti.

And why I was THRILLED when the baba slid out so beautifully from my new baking pan.

I had done it!

Proof positive you can make baba au rhum, too!

See how gorgeous it looks once you soak it with the rum syrup and top it with cream.

When you make baba au rhum, you can top it with fresh cream.

Credit for inventing the baba au rhum goes to 18th-century pastry chef Nicholas Stohrer. The pastry shop he founded in 1730 is still operating in Paris today and I could kick myself for not stopping by for a baba this last trip.

Word is Nick’s baba is still the best in town.

But we’re okay with that since it’s an excellent reason to travel to Paris, whether for the first or second time.

Make a baba au rhum, eat the fruits of your labor.

Can’t believe I did this! Ina Garten is a a genius!

  • For one thing, it feels good knowing the ultimate baba au rhum is out there waiting for us to experience it.
  • And for another, it’s an incentive for you to keep honing your baba au rhum making skills at home. Because only then will you be able to appreciate to the max what goes into creating baba “perfection” when you finally taste it.

In the end, you may discover how close to perfection your own baba-baking skills have come. And that counts as a win-win in any book.

How do your first attempts at preparing unusual dishes typically turn out?


Featured image, Baba au rhum à la framboise, by pixamo.