Make a Hullaballoo . . . Babka Brulee

The other day we brought home a Polish Babka with sweet poppy seed filling.

Babka is a yeasted sweet bread, with a dough rich with eggs and sugar, then with kneaded-in raisins, cinnamon, nuts, chocolate, or prune lekvar. And, in combinations.

Eat it plain, or with some butter and a nice cup of coffee. You’re set. Babka, like its cousin Challah, is best fresh from the bakery. After a few days it will begin to stale and then you have to figure out something creative in the kitchen. The obvious choice, French toast.

The ultimate French toast is made right at our house by the lovely Michele. Super soaking Babka or Challah in the eggy milk batter with lots of cinnamon. On the road, the go-to place is the B&H Restaurant at 127 Second Avenue, just south of St. Marks Place in Manhattan. They make their own Challah. It is the best.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Whoever was the one to have that bright idea to put powdered sugar on French toast . . . we want to have a word or two with you! For this fussy pusser, read my whiskered lips: “No powdered sugar!”

So let’s get back on track here. You bought that Babka (if you got a Challah, same deal) some days ago, and what’s left is starting to stale a bit.

Here’s something great to do: Babka Brulee.

Cut as thick a slice as you like. Melt some sweet butter in a shallow pan. When the butter is bubbling add some cane or brown sugar in the spot where you will place the slice (that's "footprint" for the technical, but less elegantly inclined types), let it melt down a bit, then cover with the Babka slice. Take a peek after a few minutes to see if that side is beginning to caramelize, then remove from the pan and repeat the same procedure for the other side.

Nothing more to do. Maybe a nice cup of coffee. Enjoy.

Alternatively, you might want to try this idea under the broiler, turning to the second side when the first is starting to caramelize.

And, this just fresh from the kitchen. Instead of sugar use a fruit jam or jelly.

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