On Babas and Savarins

What’s the difference between the two? reader Laura also asks. That’s another good question, since the two are closely connected. How are they connected? Well it seems that back in Paris in about the year 1845, a pair of pastry-making brothers by the last name of Julien created a baba that they made in a large, doughnut-shaped pan. It had no fruit in it, however it was soaked in a sweet syrup, the recipe for which was a big secret at the time. They called their masterpiece a “Savarin” after the late, great gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

So the difference there is mainly one of form. Many babas made today are made in ring-shaped molds. My belief, however, is that only one made in a Savarin mold, which creates an almost perfectly round, smooth — indeed nearly tubular — cake can be called a “Savarin.”

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