The news is stunning: Babka has won by a knock-out. This chocolaty marbled brioche that you see in cool bakeries has recently dethroned the cinnamon roll on Instagram. 105,000 against a little more than 71,000 for the former champion of “Viennoiseries Alternatives” (Alternative Pastries) from other countries! This pastry upset has not gone unnoticed in Paris, if you read the numerous loving publications posted by foodies and trendsetters. This find makes us smile a bit at Le Futiloscope New York where the babka is a classic of Jewish Ashkenazy pastry. It was even immortalized in an episode (n° 77) of Seinfeld , The Dinner Party where Jerry and Elaine have the last chocolate babka at the Royal Bakery swiped from under their noses. A cult clip can be found on YouTube under the title She Got the Babka. Fans of Ottolenghi have been making it since it came out in his cookbook Jerusalem, where, by the way they call it Krantz Cake.
In Paris, babka addicts have their choice. They can find it at the two addresses of Mamiche, one of the first, whose orange flower version already has a cult following—or at MaMi in individual little cakes. French Bastards bakery have their version (peanut-praline), as do all the zillions of Israeli inspired restaurants with “on” or “im” in their names. At Maafim, the little brother of Salatim, for example, its incarnation as French toast is, it seems, a killer (Le Futiloscope hasn’t yet tried it, we’re in post-holiday detox at the moment). The one with hazelnuts at Adar, new Levantine resto in the Passage des Panoramas has everybody talking as well.
In brief, the Babka, is a heavyweight (and not necessarily in the literal sense). Besides its chocolaty photogenic undulations and its lasting taste, it has all it takes to seduce gourmands avid to revive historic recipes. Babka means grandma, or old lady in Polish, and the grandma cooks like that right now. According to some, the cake was born from left-over Challah dough—not bad in the trend “no waste”. In any case, they’ve announced the opening in January of a dedicated mono-product place, called Babka Zana, and the IG page imagines future varieties in the style of—croissants. The circle is squared!