As I have already made a Chocolate Babka and a Chocolate Pistachio Babka, it’s time for a Pistachio Babka. The base is a soft, brioche-like dough enriched with butter and eggs. For the filling I used pistachio cream, a little salt and toasted pistachios for a little extra crunch.
Distribute the filling on the rolled out dough, shape it into a loose loaf and bake it. Finish it off by soaking the top of the babka in syrup. I love babka and could eat it every weekend. It’s so incredibly light and fluffy, absolutely delicious.
It takes a little time, but it’s worth the effort. You can easily double this recipe and bake 2 loaves and then freeze 1 babka. You can freeze it very well and when you bake it briefly in the oven after thawing, it tastes like you just made it. Gorgeous.
Tools & Equipment
- 23cmx13cm / 9×5-inch loaf pan
- Cutting board
- Large baking sheet
- Large bowl
- Off-set spatula
- Parchment paper
- Pastry brush
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- Sharp knife
- Silicone spatula
- Small saucepan
- Stand mixer fitted with the dough hook
- Wire rack
The Filling: I used store-bought pistachio cream here. You should find pistachio cream in the supermarket in the breakfast aisle, near the jam and Nutella. You can, of course, make it from scratch.
Temperature: to bring the butter and eggs to room temperature, remove them from the fridge 1 hour before you begin. You can place the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm it slightly.
Butter: you are adding the butter on low speed, with the result that it is not perfectly incorporated and the dough still looks a little lumpy. This is perfectly fine.
The Dough: if the dough is too soft after kneading and keeps sticking to the sides of the bowl, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides. Place the dough in the fridge overnight if you have the time. Anyway, you can proceed immediately with the next step of the recipe if you do not want to wait. This will also work, but it’s easier to handle the dough when it’s chilled.
Ingredients for this Recipe
Step by Step Guide – How to Make Pistachio Babka
Make the Dough
Grease a 23cm / 9-inch loaf pan, line with parchment and leave an overhang on the long sides. Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix briefly.
Attach the dough hook and add the milk and eggs. Knead on medium-low until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl, for about 10 minutes.
On low speed, add the butter and mix until fully incorporated, then mix until the dough is elastic and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic. Place in the fridge overnight.
Make the Filling
Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F. Place the chopped pistachios on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Toast for 10 minutes, then remove the sheet from the oven and let the pistachios cool.
Make the Syrup
Start making the syrup when the babka is in the oven. Heat water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it boil for 4 minutes and skim off any foam that rises. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
Finish the Babka
On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough into a rectangle of about 30x40cm / 12×16-inch. Spread the pistachio cream all over the dough and leave a small border around the edges.
Sprinkle salt and toasted pistachios evenly over the pistachio cream. Roll up the dough along the long side into a tight spiral. Use a very sharp knife to cut through the center to divide the dough into 2 pieces.
Place 1 piece of dough over the 2nd to form an X, then braid the 2 pieces of dough together. Put the babka in the loaf pan and cover with plastic. Let it sit until the dough has roughly doubled in size, for about 60-90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Take the babka out of the oven and brush the top generously with the syrup. Let the babka cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Storage: store the pistachio babka wrapped in plastic at room temperature for up to 4 days. Tightly wrapped, you can freeze it for up to 2 months. To freeze, wrap it in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil. To thaw the babka, keep it wrapped and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours. This way, the condensation that forms during thawing will remain on the outside of the loaf and will not affect its quality.
My Summary for Pistachio Babka
Taste: this babka tastes sweet, buttery and nutty. It’s so incredibly good that you can enjoy it on its own or just spread some butter on top. That’ s all you need, in my opinion.
Texture: it has a light and fluffy texture with a creamy yet crunchy filling, thanks to the toasted pistachios.
Time: preparing the dough, syrup and toasting the peanuts takes about 90 minutes. If you do have the time, I suggest making the dough the night before and placing it in the fridge overnight. I find this makes it much easier to handle the dough. The shaped babka needs another 60-90 minutes in the loaf pan to rise before you can bake it.
More “YEAST” Recipes
For the Babka
- 300g all-purpose flour (550)
- 5g dry yeast
- 2g salt
- 15g granulated sugar
- 125g whole milk, warm (30°C / 85°F)
- 1 1/2 (75g) large eggs, at room temperature
- 40g butter, at room temperature, cubed
For the Pistachio Filling
- 190g pistachio cream
- 50g pistachios, roughly chopped
- Pinch of salt
For the Syrup
- 100g granulated sugar
- 60ml water
Make the Dough
- Grease a 23cm / 9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on the sides of the pan. Set aside.
- Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix briefly with a whisk.
- Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and add the milk and eggs. Knead on medium-low until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl, for about 10 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula.
- On low speed, add the butter and mix until fully incorporated into the dough, then mix until the dough is elastic and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl, for about 15 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge overnight.
Make the Filling
- Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F.
- Chop the pistachios and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Toast the pistachios for 10 minutes.
- Remove the sheet from the oven and let the pistachios cool.
Make the Syrup
- Once the babka is in the oven, prepare the syrup. Therefore add water and sugar into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.
- Let it boil for 4 minutes and use a spoon to skim off any foam that rises.
- Remove from heat and set aside. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature before brushing it over the babka.
Finish the Babka
- Take the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured work surface, roll it out into a rectangle of about 30x40cm / 12x16-inch.
- Use an off-set spatula to spread the pistachio cream all over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges.
- Sprinkle a pinch of salt and the toasted pistachios evenly over the pistachio cream.
- Roll up the dough along the long side into a tight spiral, then use a very sharp knife to cut through the center to divide the dough into 2 long pieces.
- Place 1 piece of dough over the 2nd to form an X, then braid the 2 pieces of dough together.
- Put the babka in the prepared loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until the dough has roughly doubled in size, for about 60-90 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.
- Remove the plastic wrap 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 and place it on a wire rack.
- Brush the top generously with the syrup and then let the babka cool completely in the pan.
- Use the overhang of the parchment to lift the babka out of the pan.