His Majesty, the "Babà"!
It's been awhile since my last post, so it's about time to be back on track!! As you may know in these days I am having a break back to my lovely Naples and I can't help but eating all the best sweet specialties of my fantastic city!!
That's why today I want to tell you some curiosities about the undisputed masterpiece and symbol of the Neapolitan culinary heritage: the “babà”!
The origin of this delight is quite funny and even though Neapolitans claim the invention of this delicious sweet as their own, actually the baba' is originally from Poland and can even boast royal native!
Curious to know the real story of this amazing delight? Here we go... enjoy!!
In this story, a King really existed, and it is not a fairy tale character: he is Stanislas Leczynski, King of Poland from 1704 and 1735.
He was the father-in-law of Louis XV of France, who had married his daughter Maria. After being dethroned, they gave him the Lorraine Duchy.
King Stanislas was a real gourmet and was continuously consuming sweets. The Loren pastry chefs used to serve him the "Kugelhupf", a typical cake of that territory. Unfortunately, Stanislas did not really like it because it was very dry, although it was served accompanied by a sort of wine-based Madeira sauce, sugar and spices.
The legend of the birth of the babà says that one day Stanislas, tired of that cloying sweet, threw it on the other side of the table and by chance he hit a cup full of rum.
The sweet liqueur, spilling on the babà, arose such a perfume that the King, after tasting it, fell in love with it. Because he was an avid reader of "The Arabian Nights", he called the new sweet “Ali Babà”, as a famous character of those stories.
From the court of the polish sovereign, the babà was later exported to France first, in a pastry shop called Sthorer in Paris. Many persons started to appreciate it and still today, in the French capital, there is a pastry similar to the babà, called “savarin”.
The "Monsù", chefs who lent their services among noble Neapolitan families, brought the babà from France to Naples.
And since then, this city has become the babà’s stable home. Despite the troubled origin, in Naples the babà was ameliorated, acquiring the characteristics that distinguish it today: the particular softness and the molded shape, similar to a mushroom; that is why today is considered a Neapolitan specialty!
It is a sweet that requires a slow and elaborate preparation but that can satisfy the most demanding palates! The kneading technique and rising times are two great secrets of this renowned sweet.
In Naples, it is very common to find it accompanied and decorated with Chantilly cream and fresh fruits, usually strawberries!
Are you craving for some delicious babà?? I do hope so!!
Enjoy your weekend, and remember: you can’t buy happiness but you can buy a cake (or a baba', right?). And it’s kinda the same thing!