Day 202: Baba au rhum: Merry Christmas!
“I can’t actually remember the first time my mom made Baba au rhum. But somewhere in my teenage years, it became a yearly tradition and she wowed family and friends (and got them tipsy too!) with this recipe. A Baba – you may be wondering – is a yeasted brioche bun that is soaked in rum syrup. My mom would make this dessert only once a year at Christmas, so it was a cherished and much-anticipated holiday treat. At this time of year, I miss my mom so much. She would get giddy and mischievous about Christmas, like a little kid. And this recipe is a perfect expression of her exuberance and Christmas cheer. She would usually put a fair bit more rum than the recipe calls for so her Baba au rhum really packed a good punch, and I’m pleased to say I am proudly carrying this tradition forward.
Along with making Babas for our family, the week before Christmas, my mom would make them for her knitting circle: a group of warm, witty, creative, and zany women who meet once a week at Gaspereau Valley Fibres, the gorgeous wool store down the road where she worked for many years. She loved those knitting afternoons with a passion! She would always come home with rosy cheeks and a sparkle in her eye. When I was home visiting, I would sometimes drop in on the group with her but always as an onlooker, never as a knitter. But recently, after years of resisting it, I finally started knitting, thanks to the patient instruction of my roommate’s mom. So this year, I decided to make the Babas and bring them and my wonky half-finished mittens to my mom’s knitting comrades. It’s easy to see why she loved these women so much. I also understand where that twinkle in her eye came from, because holy moley (!), the conversations over there can get pretty naughty!! Which makes it all the more understandable that my mom drove around with this bumper sticker on her car.”