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Neapolitan Babà with limoncello

By: annarè
Neapolitan Babà with limoncello

For the yeast starter

30 g strong white flour (manitoba) 

10 g honey

20 g brewer’s yeast

25 g lukewarm water

For the baba

300 g strong white flour (manitoba)

4 medium eggs (or 3 large eggs)

25 g honey

100 g butter or margarine

½ teaspoon salt

Vanilla essence

Grated orange or lemon rind

For the sugar syrup

1l water

400 g sugar

Limoncello (as much as you want)

For the decoration

200 ml whipping cream,

80 g icing sugar

Fabbri Amarena, as required


More than 1 hour


x 8


Begin by blending the flour, brewer’s yeast, water and honey together to make the yeast starter. Stir well and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size.  As soon as it is ready, put it in a bowl with a bit of flour, one egg, the honey, the grated orange or lemon rind and a pinch of salt. If you have a food processor, use a K-beater to stir the mixture at a low speed, or alternatively use an electric whisk.  Add one egg at a time and a bit of flour, until all the eggs and flour have been stirred into the mixture. When the mixture is smooth, change the beater and use the hook-shaped one instead.  Add the butter at room temperature (I prefer margarine as it’s easier to mix in).Stir on a low setting for about 20 minutes, until the dough is stretchy and starts to detach itself from the sides of the bowl.  The time will depend on the type of food processor you use.  When the dough is ready, cover it and leave to rise in the bowl until it has doubled in size. When the dough has risen, place it on a lightly greased chopping board, and shape it with lightly greased hands.  Make a hole in the center and place it in the greased babà mold. This means the dough should be seamless.  Leave it to rise again in the mold until it has doubled in size. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200° for about 20 minutes, until it is golden, and test with a toothpick to see if it is ready.  Leave to cool and then remove from the mold.  It should be golden all over. Prepare the sugar syrup with the sugar, lemon rind and water in a pan. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and then remove from the heat.  When the mixture is lukewarm, add the limoncello. Put the babà back into the mold, with a large plate underneath.  Make lots of holes in it with a skewer or toothpick, and pour the syrup on top of it with a ladle, a little at a time, until it is completely soaked in syrup. It should swell up as you add the sugar syrup. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours, and then turn it over so the syrup will trickle down to the other side.  Whip the cream with the icing sugar and use a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle to decorate it as you wish. Finish the decoration with some delicious Fabbri Amarenas.

Recipe by annarè