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The Neapolitan baba is a sweet typical Neapolitan pastry made with yeast dough, whose spongy texture is soaked in a syrup liqueur made from rum which gives it the distinctive flavor.
It occurs in the characteristic shape of a mushroom in size from 5 to 15 cm and the variation in the center donut stuffed with cream or custard and fruit syrup.
The origin of the baba goes beyond the borders of Naples: it was invented back in the eighteenth century by former Polish king Stanislaw Leszczynski, during his exile in the Duchy of Lorraine, following the military defeat against Peter the Great. Indeed, Stanislaus, unable to exert its political power, was always broken and embittered, and to counter this emotional state always wanted something sweet to eat. He was very demanding and his cooks, not knowing what to invent, often wore "Kugelhupf", a typical dessert of that territory, made with flour, butter, sugar, eggs and raisins. The ousted ruler did not like because the dough was too dry and tasteless, so one day, infuriated by yet another ration of this sweet, threw it away, hitting a bottle of rum; the room sprang a particular scent and Stanislaus, intrigued, tasted the cake soaked in liquor. He liked it a lot and he dedicated his creation to Ali Baba, the famous character from "The Arabian Nights", the book that he used to read and reread during his long stay in Luneville.
Lorraine from the baba arrived early in Paris, in the pastry Sthorer, still very popular in the city, located at number 51 rue Montorgueil. The baba Savarin was born in the laboratories of the homonymous French pastry that had the idea to close the salad into a baba, without raisins, brushed with apricot jam.
In 800, under the rule of the Bourbons, Neapolitan cuisine knew the influence beyond the Alps, thanks to the arrival of "monsù" French chefs who were called to the city to pay the service of the noble Neapolitan families; was in this context that the baba arrived in Naples. The earliest sources on Neapolitan sweet date back to 1836, when the cook Angeletti wrote a manual for culinary Maria Luigia of Parma. It was thanks to the skill of Neapolitan pastry, through a long rising dough, that the baba became even softer and it was thanks to their inventiveness that this sweet assumed the typical mushroom shape. The final touch is to wet it with a solution of water and sugar, flavored with lemon and rum correct. Watch the video recipe.
Our recommendations / curiosity:
Besides the simple baba rum there are many delicious variations: stuffed with chocolate or cream, with custard, chantilly, strawberries and sour cherries or limoncello.
This cake is so ingrained in the local food culture that the expression Neapolitan "is' nu baba" is used to indicate a sweet, affectionate and adorable.