Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chow Down to Eurovision 2013 - Russia

Russia has only been in the contest since 1994 but when the first entry they sent had a dress that moved every which way but loose you knew they were a country to watch out for. Historically Russia has pulled out some great Eurovision moments, Alsou and her butch jazz ballet backing dancers, Parliament the anti boy band, Dima Bilan with his ballerina stuffed piano and Olympic ice skater. The over hyped controversy of Tatu did little for the contest apart some mild childish comedy. If you listen to the Russian song as though they were singing in English it sounds like "how many guys in your brassiere, He was my boy scouts" I never promised to be high brow.

However in 2012 they struck Eurovision gold, by sending the Bashuski, the grandmas. Who doesn't love a grandma? I think it was just that they had those little faces you just want to squeeze. I know I shouldn't have a favourite, but I think Natalie was everyone's favourite, she even made it to onto our Christmas tree.

The act even featured baking!

I have based this recipe around the Rum Baba in Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets by Linda Collister.

Don't you just want to eat that little face?

Vodka Babushka
  • 60g black cherries (about 7)
  • 1/2 cup of vodka
  • 5 tablespoons of lukewarm milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g strong flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 table spoons caster sugar
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 100g soft unsalted butter room temperature

For the syrup
  • 2 cups water
  • syrup from the tin of black cherry
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Reserved vodka from the cherries
  • In a small bowl soak the whole black cherries in the vodka
  • Into the bowl of a stand mixer add the milk, eggs, flour, salt, caster sugar and yeast.
  • With a dough hook knead until smooth and elastic, scrap down the side to ensure that all the flour is mixed in. Should only take about a few minutes.
  • Cover the bowl in cling wrap and let rise to almost double, about 1 hour. (I transferred into a glass bowl because I needed to use the mixer for something else)
  • Grease and flour the babushka moulds or muffin tray. It is recommended that you chill the moulds after you grease them to stop the butter being absorbed into the batter. I didn't do it but it's a handy hint to know if you find things are sticking.
  • Mash the butter with a fork to obtain a smooth consistency
  • Beat the butter into the batter till it is incorporated and not showing through, no butter streaks.
  • Drain the black cherries from the vodka, but reserve the liquid for the syrup.
  • Finely chop the black cherries finely and stir through the batter.
  • Fill the moulds half way, allowing room to rise. Less is more as they will grow, also spread the mixture out evenly so that you don't end up with a babushka with a bigger behind than the others, or have to deliver the terrible news that 1 babushka didn't make it.
  • Let rise again for about 30mins till they have doubled.
  • Bake at 200°C  for about 20 mins till they are golden and are a bit loose in the tin.
  • When baked, remove from mould and let cool on a wire rack
  • To make the syrup put the water, black cherry juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil for about 3 mins (it's a syrup, not a sauce so it's ok to boil on this occasion) Remove from the heat and add the reserved vodka.
  • Soak each Babushka in the syrup before putting on a serving plate. You can give them a good soaking, I was frightened they would break up but it is amazing just how much vodka syrup one Babushka can hold.
  • Serve with double cream and extra cherries

No Grandmothers this year but Dina Garipova will perform What If.

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