Praline Pecan Babka

Developed in the early 19th-century in New Orleans, pralines are creamy, cookie-size candies made of brown sugar, butter, and pecans. We commemorate the confection’s sweet nuttiness and melt-in-your mouth magic with a pillowy pecan-laden babka.

Praline Pecan Babka
Makes 1 (9x5-inch) loaf
  • ½ cup (120 grams) warm whole milk (105°F/40°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • 1¼ teaspoons (3.75 grams) active dry yeast
  • 2½ cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3½ tablespoons (42 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons (6.75 grams) kosher salt, divided
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 1 large egg yolk (19 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (198 grams) unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • 1 large egg white (30 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) water
  • 1½ cups (330 grams) firmly packed darkbrown sugar
  • ¾ cup (85 grams) finely chopped pecans Caramel Pecan Glaze (recipe follows)
  1. In a small bowl, stir together warm milk and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, granulated sugar, and 1¾ teaspoons (5.25 grams) salt. Stir in eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, gradually add yeast mixture, beating until dough comes together.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat for 5 to 7 minutes. Test dough using the windowpane test (see Pro Tip). If dough is not ready, beat 1 minute more, and test again.
  4. With mixer on medium-high speed, add ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (141 grams) butter in three additions, letting each addition incorporate before adding the next. Beat until a smooth and elastic dough forms and pulls away from sides of bowl.
  5. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover surface of dough with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.
  6. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. (Alternatively, dough can be made 1 day in advance, and the entire rise may take place in the refrigerator overnight.)
  7. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water. On a heavily floured surface, roll dough into 16x12-inch rectangle. Brush edges of dough with egg wash. Spread remaining ¼ cup (57 grams) butter onto dough. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, pecans, and remaining ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) salt. Sprinkle sugar mixture over butter, and gently press into dough. Starting with one short side, roll up dough, jelly roll style, and pinch seam to seal. (If dough is getting too warm and di cult to work with, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding.) Using a bench scraper, trim ends, and cut roll in half lengthwise. Carefully twist dough pieces tightly around each other, pinching and tucking ends to seal. Place in prepared pan, cut sides up. Cover and let rest in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) for 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  10. Bake for 30 minutes. Cover with foil, and bake until an instant-read
  11. thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 30 to 35 minutes more. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Using excess parchment paper as handles, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle with Caramel Pecan Glaze.
Test dough for proper gluten development. Pinch o (make sure you don’t tear dough) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull dough out from center. If dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a “windowpane.” If dough tears, it’s not ready.

Caramel Pecan Glaze
Makes 1 1⁄4 cups
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (120 grams) heavy whipping cream ½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (28 grams) chopped toasted pecans
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add cream, vanilla, and salt, and bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in pecans. Let cool slightly before using


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