For the babas, gently heat the milk,
then allow to cool slightly so it’s tepid.
Add 1 tsp sugar to the yeast, then pour
in the milk and allow to stand for a few
mins until the mixture is foamy. Combine
the flour, remaining sugar and ½ tsp salt
in a bowl, then pour in the yeast mixture,
eggs and the melted butter and mix
until smooth and shiny. Cover with a
tea towel and leave to prove in a warm
place for 1 hr.
Butter and flour 6 dariole moulds or
small metal pudding moulds. Knock
back the dough; then, using your fingers,
form 6 little balls and place 1 ball into
each mould. Leave to prove again until
the dough starts to rise over the top
of the moulds, about 30-40 mins.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/
gas 4. Space the moulds out on a baking
tray, then cook for 15 mins. Leave to cool
for a few mins, then carefully loosen the
babas away from the sides with a small
sharp knife. Turn out onto a wire rack and
leave to cool.
For the poached pineapple, put the
star anise, bay leaves, coriander seeds
and sugar into a large pan with 1 litre
of water, and bring to the boil. Reduce
the heat, add the pineapple and cook
for 20 mins. Leave to cool for 5 mins,
then take out the pineapple, drain and
set aside. Add the rum to the syrup
and allow to cool. Can be made the
day ahead up to this point.
To make the vanilla cream, whip the
cream with the icing sugar and vanilla
seeds to soft peaks. Set aside, then
chill until ready to use.
Halve the babas and drench in the rum
syrup until soaked through. Serve with
the pineapple chopped into chunks, plus
a dollop of cream extra syrup for
everyone to drizzle over. If you like, you
can heat the 50g butter in a frying pan
until browned, cook the pineapple rings
on both sides until golden, then grind
over black pepper before serving as above.