baba au rhum safran et citron

Saffron and Lemon Baba au Rhum

Brioche, besides making a lovely breakfast toast, is sweet enough to work as an ingredient in dessert. Here a loaf of it replaces the traditional yeasted sponge cake for baba au rhum. The brioche should be stale so it can soak up the syrup flavored with lemon, rum, and saffron. The saffron, which adds an intriguing flavor, was often included in recipes for the dessert in the mid-1800s. For dramatic flair, the dessert is flambéed. Feel free to do this in front of an audience if you’re confident. Just be aware that because of the rum in the soaking syrup, the flames may take a little longer to extinguish than you’d expect, so make sure they are out before you serve your guests!




Number of persons

Serves 8 to 10


1¼ cups (250 g) sugar
Zest of ½ lemon removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
Large pinch of saffron
2 cups (475 ml) water
½ cup (120 ml) dark rum
One 2- to 3-day-old loaf Brioche or other brioche
Whipped cream, for serving
Sliced fresh peaches or other juicy, fruit, such as pears or pineapple, for serving


Combine the sugar, lemon zest, saffron, and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely. Remove and discard the lemon zest. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) of the rum.


Place the brioche on its side in a casserole dish or deep baking pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Slowly pour over half of the syrup and allow the brioche to soak up as much of it as possible.


Turn the brioche and pour over the remaining syrup.


Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, and up to 24 hours, turning the brioche in the syrup occasionally.


To serve : Turn the brioche right side up in the casserole or pan. Place the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) rum in a small skillet and use a longhandled match to carefully ignite it, averting your face. Immediately pour the flaming mixture over the brioche.


When the flames are extinguished, slice the brioche and serve, topped with whipped cream and fruit.