On the surface of it a savarin is a rather restrained affair. A non-threatening fruit dessert that might be served after a decadent ladies’ lunch. A pastry that a fitness buff can take from a buffet table and still hold his head up high.
Let me tell you, that dude will be on the rowing machine all afternoon working one of these off. Because under the hood a savarin is an indulgence machine: a buttery brioche loop soaked in aromatic syrup and filled with Chantilly cream. The fruit? It’s sort of like the glow-in-the-dark lure of an anglerfish, enticing the dieter to his doom. Begin by assembling all your ingredients. Start with the dough. Put the dry ingredients in your mixer.
Stir to combine and with the machine running, add the milk.
Now the eggs, one at a time.
The dough will get shaggy at first…
…but will become smooth and elastic after several minutes of beating.
Add the butter a tablespoon or so at a time and beat until it’s completely incorporated.
In the end you’ll have a very rich and stretchy dough. Let it sit for a minimum of 15 minutes. Or, for maximum flavor, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise until it’s doubled, about 45 minutes. At that point punch it down and put it in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 3 days. The more time, the more complex the flavor.
When you’re ready to make the savarins, procure your molds (here I’m using my favorites: 5-inch size) and place a ball of dough on a lightly floured board. For this size mold you’ll need about a 3.5-ounce portion.
You can pipe the dough into the mold, and some people like that since baba/brioche dough is almost batter-like in its consistency. To me that just dirties a piping bag that I’ll have to clean later. Do what you like. I roll…
…and roll until the dough is about ten inches long. I try to make it as even as I can…
…then drop it into my buttered mold.
Next I spritz them with water to keep the tops moist as they rise. Egg wash can be used here, but a shiny, sealed top (which will actually be the bottom in the end) will tend to prevent syrup from penetrating when I get to that step. Oh, did I mention you need to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit about now?
After about 45 minutes of rising and occasional spritzing, they’ll look like this:
Put them into the even for about 20 minutes until they’re a nice, deep brown color.
After ten minutes turn them out onto a rack and let them cool completely. These will keep for the better part of a day as they are. If you plan to bake more than a day in advance, freeze these in plastic bags, then thaw them completely before plating the savarins.
When you’re ready to plate, paint on a good amount of syrup. This is where you can get quite creative if you wish. This is just a simple syrup with a little vanilla extract in it, quite pedestrian really. Simmer your syrup with some citrus zest and vanilla bean. Maybe add some fruit purée. Spike it with virtually any liqueur. Let your imagination run wild. Soak it on top…
…and on the bottom (formerly known as the top). You may need to prick the surface with a toothpick to provide some entry points for the syrup. Again, be generous.
Pipe in some chantilly cream and add fruit of your choice.
This is actually a very nice pastry for two. Me I’ll polish this off myself. Which way to the gym?