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Babka, Streusel (D, TNT)
Source: "Light Jewish Holiday Desserts," by Penny Wantuck Eisenberg
Yield: 2 cakes, 9 servings each

1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup ice water
3 tbsp. canola oil
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp. instant yeast
2-1/2 cups + 1 tbsp. (317g) bread flour, lightly sprinkled into a measuring cup, divided

1-1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour, lightly sprinkled into a measuring cup
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 egg white, whisked with 1 tsp. water

Make Dough:
Place the milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until the milk boils. Stir in the ice water. Set the milk in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes, until it cools to about 120°F (warm, but not hot enough to sting your finger).

Pour the milk into a large mixer bowl. Mix in the oil, salt, sugar, and egg.

In another bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast. If using a heavy-duty standing mixer, add the flour mixture all at once to the mixer bowl. Beat on medium-low for 5 minutes. The dough will be very gluey and soft.

If using a hand or light mixer, beat in the flour mixture a little at a time until the dough becomes too heavy for the beater. Stir in the remaining flour mixture using a wooden spoon, and continue stirring for 5 minutes, pressing the batter against the sides of the bowl to develop the gluten (the dough is too soft to knead). Sprinkle the remaining tbsp. of flour over the dough so that you can gather it together and remove it from the bowl.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl. It will be a rough mass, but will come into a ball when you turn the dough over in the bowl a couple of times to coat it with oil. Cover and set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and knead it a few times. Place back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease the bottom of two 8" or 9" round or square pans.

Make Streusel:
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix the butter and oil. Add to flour mixture. Stir with a fork until moistened. Use your fingertips to rub the fats into the flour, and then use your hands to squeeze the mixture into small lumps.

Divide the dough in half. Roughly roll each piece of cold dough to fit the bottom of each pan, and then press the dough into the pans to fit completely (let them rest for 10 minutes if they keep shrinking). It should be about 3/16" thick.

Brush the dough with the egg white mixture and then sprinkle half of the streusel crumbs over each piece of dough. Place the pans onto a cookie sheet (this is important because it provides insulation so that the bottom does not overbake). Bake the kuchen for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crumbs are nicely browned, and the internal temperature is about 200°F.

Remove the pans from the oven. Slide a pancake turner under one of the kuchens and lift it out of the pan and set on a cooling rack. Repeat with the other cake. Let the cakes cool completely before eating. The cakes gets stale within 1 or 2 days, and then are delicious when dunked.

Poster's Notes:
The Wantuck family recipe for streusel-topped kuchen, written in German, by my father's grandmother, called for "a little of this," and "enough of that." As a young woman, my mother obtained the recipe by standing at my grandmother's side and measuring everything as my grandmother assembled the ingredients and made the kuchen.

I remember the cake as flat, and fairly dense, topped with wonderful crumbs that would fall off in our milk, cocoa, or coffee as we dipped it into the liquid. It was a cake that we all loved as children. The family recipe contained 8 tbsp. of butter in the dough, and another 5 in the streusel, so I knew it would not be easy to make a lowfat version that would live up to the memories. On the day of the taste-test, my father took some extra insulin, and then proceeded to taste and dunk. I nervously watched and waited. "Really good, Pen," my dad proclaimed. "Just like my mother used to make."

Serve on Shabbat and Yom ha-Atzma'ut

Posted by Penny Wantuck Eisenberg

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 186 Calories, 5g Fat (38%), 20mg Cholesterol, 17g Carbohydrates, 3g Protein, 49mg Sodium, 0g Fiber
RDA %: 2% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 1% Calcium, 6% Iron