This Chocolate Pistachio Babka is made of a soft brioche-style dough enriched with butter and eggs. On top of that you have a filling of butter, chocolate and pistachios, which is spread on the rolled out dough. All of this is swirled into a loose loaf, baked and finally soaked in syrup.
Babka is pretty trendy these days and I have to say that I get it, because it’s absolutely delicious. But did you know that babka had its origins in the early 1800s in the Polish Jewish community? It wasn’t as rich and sweet as it is today and savory versions didn’t exist yet either. It is fascinating that there is such a long tradition behind it.
Tools & Equipment
- 23x13cm / 9×5-inch loaf pan
- Baking sheet
- Cutting board
- Large bowl
- Medium saucepan
- Parchment paper
- Pastry brush
- Rolling pin
- Sharp knife
- Silicone spatula
- Small saucepan
- Stand mixer fitted with the dough hook
Temperature: take the butter and eggs out of the fridge 1 hour before you start to bring them to room temperature. To slightly warm the milk, place it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Butter: you add the butter on low speed, so it is not perfectly incorporated and the dough still looks a little lumpy. At this point, that’s fine.
The Dough: in case the dough appears too soft after kneading and sticks to the sides of the bowl, add another tablespoon of flour until it pulls away from the sides. Place the dough in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight. If you do not want to wait, proceed directly with the next step of the recipe. This will work too, but it’s easier to work with the dough when it’s chilled.
The Filling: I used semi-sweet chocolate, however you can use whatever chocolate you like best. Instead of pistachios you can use all kinds of alternatives like walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts or anything you prefer.
How to Make Chocolate Pistachio Babka
Make the Dough
Butter a 23 cm / 9-inch loaf pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper, leave an overlap on the long sides of the pan. Weigh your ingredients for the dough.
Place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix it briefly. Pour in the milk and eggs. Mix on low-medium speed until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
Add the butter and mix until completely incorporated into the dough, then continue mixing until the dough is elastic and not sticking to the sides of the bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic and place in the fridge.
Make the Filling
Gather your ingredients and add all of them, except the pistachios, into a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat until completely melted and smooth. Stir constantly so the chocolate will not burn. Let it cool and thicken.
Chop the pistachios, place them on a baking sheet and roast them at 150°C / 300°F for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the pistachios cool.
Make the Syrup
Heat water and sugar and let it boil for 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the syrup cool to room temperature before using it.
Finish the Babka
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle of about 30x40cm / 12×16-inch.
Spread the chocolate mixture all over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Then sprinkle the pistachios evenly on top.
Roll up the dough along the long side, then cut through the center with a sharp knife to divide the dough into two long pieces. Place one piece of dough over the second to form an X.
Braid the two pieces of dough together and transfer the babka into the loaf pan, cover with plastic. Let it sit for about 60-90 minutes, until the dough has roughly doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F. Remove the plastic, sprinkle the top with pistachios and bake the babka for about 30-35 minutes.
Take the babka out of the oven as soon as it is done and place it on a wire rack. Brush the top generously with the syrup.
Let the babka cool completely in the pan. Then use the parchment paper to lift the babka out of the pan. Slice and serve.
Storage: you can store the babka at room temperature for up to 4 days. Tightly wrapped, you can freeze it for up to 2 months. To freeze, wrap the babka in two layers of plastic and one layer of aluminum foil. To thaw, let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, still wrapped. This way, the condensation that forms during thawing will stay on the outside of the loaf and not affect its quality.
My Summary for Chocolate Pistachio Babka
Taste: the babka tastes sweet, buttery, chocolaty, nutty with a hint of cinnamon.
Texture: light and fluffy with a creamy yet crunchy filling, thanks to the pistachios.
PROS: this chocolate pistachio babka looks beautiful and tastes delicious. You can keep it for a couple of days without drying out.
CONS: this recipe requires a little practice and time. But it is worth the effort.
More Babka & Chocolate Recipes
- Brownie Crinkle Cookies
- Chocolate Babka
- Chocolate Truffles
- Cranberry Chocolate Walnut Bundt Cake
- Speculoos Babka
For the Babka
- 5g dry yeast
- 125g whole milk, slightly warmed (31°C)
- 15g granulated sugar
- 40g butter, at room temperature, cubed
- 75g (1 1/2) large eggs, at room temperature
- 2g sea salt
- 300g all-purpose flour (550)
For the Chocolate Pistachio Filling
- 25g light brown sugar
- 15g cocoa powder
- 60g semi-sweet chocolate
- 60g unsalted butter, diced
- large pinch flaked sea salt
- 2g ground cinnamon
- 50g pistachios, roughly chopped
For the Syrup
- 100g granulated sugar
- 60ml water
Make the Dough
- Butter a 23 cm / 9-inch loaf pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper, leave an overlap on the long sides of the pan.
- Place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and use a whisk to mix it all together briefly.
- Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and pour in the milk and eggs. Mix on low-medium speed for about 10 minutes or until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the butter and mix until completely incorporated into the dough, then mix for another 15 minutes or until the dough is elastic and not sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- Shape the dough into a ball and put into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
Make the Filling
- Add all the ingredients, except the pistachios, into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat until completely melted and smooth. Stir constantly so the chocolate will not stick to the saucepan and burn.
- Set aside for 20 minutes to cool and thicken slightly.
- Chop the pistachios and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast the pistachios at 150°C / 300°F for 10 minutes.
- Remove the sheet from the oven and let the pistachios cool.
Make the Syrup
- Heat water and sugar in a small saucepan.
- Let it boil for 4 minutes and skim off the foam that rises with a spoon.
- Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Allow the syrup cool to room temperature before brushing on top of the babka.
Finish the Babka
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle of approximately 30x40cm / 12x16-inch.
- Spread the chocolate mixture all over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges.
- Sprinkle the pistachios evenly on top of the chocolate mixture.
- Roll up the dough along the long side into a tight spiral, then cut through the center with a very sharp knife to divide the dough into two long pieces.
- Place one piece of dough over the second to form an X, then braid the two pieces of dough together.
- Transfer the babka into the prepared loaf pan and cover with plastic. Set aside for about 60-90 minutes, until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F.
- Remove the plastic and bake the babka on the middle rack for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Take the babka out of the oven as soon as it is done and place it on a wire rack.
- Brush the top generously with the syrup.
- Let the babka cool completely in the pan.
- Use the overlaps of the parchment to lift the babka out of the pan.
- Slice and serve.
Recipe adapted from the boy who bakes.