Saturday, April 27, 2013

April Daring Bakers' Challenge - Savarin

Holy moly, it's the end of the month already? You know what that means!

Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

I am going to be completely honest with you.  I had never heard of a savarin before and, upon reading the recipe, I  thought it sounded... odd. A rich bread dough that is baked in a ring then soaked in a flavored syrup, and then the hole in the middle is filled with a pastry cream and the whole thing is decorated with fresh fruit.

Whoa. Sounded... fussy. The dough takes a bit of time, and involves steps that have to be followed in the right order... from making a starter sponge to adding 6 egg yolks one at a time to adding flour a tablespoon at a time.   But once I got started, other than it taking quite a few bowls to keep myself organized, it wasn't too bad.

I soon had a very rich, very high hydration dough ready to rest for a long rise.

And rise it did!

The dough is then shaped and placed into a well-buttered bundt pan.

And when it bakes?

Wow. Talk about rise! I was amazed at how high this bread rose in the oven.

Then came decision time. While the bread cooled, I had to decide on the flavorings for the soaking syrup and filling for this bread. I chose vanilla.  I made a vanilla simple syrup with which to soak the bread...

...and a dairy-free and egg-free vanilla pudding to use as a filling. (I chose dairy-free/egg-free so that little man could enjoy it with us. He can handle the eggs/butter in the bread, as they are fully baked in the bread, and that doesn't affect him. But for pudding, he needs the dairy-free/egg-free version).

And then it was time for the fun finishing touches. Fresh berries on top.

I have to say, once it all came together, I thought it looked pretty good!

But the important part is how it tastes. And it tastes delicious! The bread is so light and airy - little miss actually compared it to an angel food cake, which is pretty impressive for a yeasted bread.

None of us were fans of the pudding that I chose (well, little man liked it, and I guess that's the most important part for that kind of pudding!), but the soaked bread was a really nice treat, so it is definitely worth trying again.

Natalia, thank you so much for preparing this delicious challenge for us!

To see the challenge as Natalia beautifully presented it, you can check it out here.

And to see the beautiful and impressive savarins baked up in the Daring Kitchen this month, you can check them out here.

(adapted only slightly from the challenge recipe)

2½ cups bread flour
2 tablespoons water, lukewarm
6 large eggs at room temperature, separated
½ satchel (1½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 teaspoons sugar
2/3 stick (1/3 cup) butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter for greasing the work surface, hands, dough scraper & baking pan

For the Sponge:
In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons flour and yeast. Cover with cling film and let rise 60 minutes.

For the Dough:
After the sponge has been resting for 30 minutes, put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and start working with the paddle at low speed, adding flour until you have a soft dough that sticks to the bowl (recipe said this would take about 2 cups, but mine only needed about a cup or so) and work until it comes together. Cover with cling film and let rest 30 min.
Add the sponge to the mixer bowl along with one tablespoon of flour and start mixing at low speed.
When the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add one yolk and, as soon as the yolk is absorbed, add one tablespoon of flour.
Add the second yolk and the sugar and, as soon as the yolk is absorbed, add one tablespoon of flour.
Raise the speed of the mixer a little bit.
Add the third yolk and the salt and, as soon as the yolk is absorbed, add one tablespoon of flour.
Keep on adding one yolk at the time and the flour in this way, saving a tablespoon of flour for later.
Mix the dough until is elastic and makes threads.
Add the room temperature butter and, as soon as the butter is adsorbed, add the last tablespoon of flour.
Keep on mixing until the dough passes the window pane test (be patient with this).
Cover the dough with cling film and let it proof until it has tripled in volume, about 2 to 3 hours.
When the dough is almost done proofing, carefully and thoroughly butter a bundt or tube pan, making sure it is fully buttered but not leaving chunks of butter on the sides of the pan.
Grease your dough scraper, your hands and your work surface and then turn the dough out on it and fold it over on itself several times. Cover with cling film and let it rest 15 minutes on the counter.
Turn the dough upside down and, with the help of your buttered dough scraper, shape your dough in a rounded bun.
Make a hole in the center with your thumb and put it in the prepared pan.
Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm spot until the dough reaches the top of the pan, about 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven to moderate 340°.
Bake the Savarin for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.
When the Savarin is done, remove it from the oven, let it cool and carefully remove it from the pan.

For the Syrup:
(my own creation)
3 cups water
1 vanilla flavored tea bag
1 vanilla bean
1 cup of sugar

Put the vanilla bean, tea bag and sugar into a medium saucepan and cover with the water. Heat over high heat until it comes to a boil. Boil the syrup for approximately 5-8 minutes until sugar is fully dissolved, the tea has steeped well and the liquid has thickened a little bit.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool.

When you are ready to soak the cooled savarin, return the bread to the pan and carefully spoon the liquid over the bread until you can see the liquid coming up the side of the pan. The bread will begin to float, so push it down a bit to make sure it is really immersed rather than just floating on the surface.  Allow the bread to soak overnight. After a few hours of soaking, I actually covered the savarin with foil and flipped it over to allow gravity to pull the liquid down through the whole bread.

For the Filling:
You can use any pudding or pastry cream that matches your taste preferences. I made this dairy-free and egg-free pudding:
(from Z's Cup of Tea)

2 cups coconut milk beverage
2 1/2 to 3 tbsp. cornstarch
3 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon agave nectar

Heat 1 1/2 cups of the coconut milk in a small pot or saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk with cornstarch separately in a small bowl, adding the milk to the cornstarch. (This makes it easier to mix.)
Add the agave nectar to the milk and pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk the milk until thickened and comes to a boil, about 4 minutes.
Remove the pudding from heat and add vanilla extract.
Pour the pudding into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until ready to serve.The pudding will continue to thicken as it chills.

When you are ready to serve, turn the soaked savarin out onto a serving dish, fill the hole with the prepared and cooled pudding (or filling of your choice) and decorate with fresh fruit.



  1. Great job! I'm writing on my post now and just wanted to take a look at what the other daring bakers did and I'm really amazed.

  2. Your savarin turned out beautifully, and I like the vanilla flavours that you chose.

  3. Ooh, your vanilla pudding looks so good and
    your Savarin is perfect!
    Wonderful job on this challenge :)

  4. Awesome and lovely finish !!!! well done on the challenge !!!

  5. Looks delicious, great job on the challenge!

  6. I was trying to think what the cake reminded me of - angel food cake is totally it! Looks great Shelley :)

  7. What a stunning savarin, Shelley!

  8. Your savarin looks beautiful! I too thought about going with a mixed berry for the topping and I'm sure they didn't disappoint. Nice job on the challenge!

  9. Il looks stunning! Great job on the challenge! :)

  10. Very Pretty Shelley!


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