Rhubarb, with its celery-like red stalks that become soft and velvety when cooked, is always a welcome sign of spring. Though you can make it any time, as rhubarb is widely available fresh and frozen. The only problem: It’s almost always used as a pie filling, which is a shame because rhubarb’s vivid color and fresh tartness lend themselves beautifully to almost any kind of cake, crumble, sauce, jam, salad, or drink. If you’re ready to try something new, this rhubarb babka is a certifiable knockout.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and yeast.
- Add the eggs, water, and salt, and mix well with a fork for a minute to form dough. Add butter and mix until mostly incorporated.
- On a clean surface, knead and mix the dough with your hands for about 5 minutes until it’s completely smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic and leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
- Make the filling: Melt butter and chocolate chips together until smooth; mixture should form a spreadable paste.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a large, thin rectangle.
- Spread the chocolate filling over the dough, leaving about a 3/4-inch border around. Sprinkle with chopped rhubarb and extra chocolate chips.
- Carefully roll up the rectangle into a thick log, press to seal, and transfer to the fridge for 15-20 minutes to harden.
- Use a knife to cut the roll in half lengthwise, keeping the very top uncut.
- Position the cut sides faceup, showing the filling, and lift the left half over the right half, then the right half over the left half to form a braid. Repeat to the bottom and squeeze the ends together.
- Carefully transfer the babka to a parchment-lined loaf pan and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F, place the loaf pan on the middle rack, and bake for 35 minutes.
- Make the glaze: In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, water, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- As soon as the babka comes out of the oven, brush it generously with the syrup. Let it cool in the pan before removing and serving.
Recipe by Kate Kosaya