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  • Writer's pictureHeather

Pistachio Babka

Hungry for more? This recipes was featured in a podcast episode!


Babka is a yeast-leavened dough that is rolled out and spread with a filling, then rolled, and braided or knotted before baking, then finally bathed in a simple syrup. It's like an extra special levelled-up cinnamon bun on steroids. This babka features a crushed pistachio filling and a cardamom and rose syrup.

Prep Time: 1.5 hrs

Additional time: refrigerate over night

Cook time: 40 min

Yield: 2 babka loaves



  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 3 eggs at room temperature

  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup whole milk at room temperature

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 2/3 cup water

Filling - see below for options


Making dough and rolling babka

  1. Stir flour, sugar, yeast, and salt together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add eggs, yolk, milk, and vanilla using the dough hook. Mix on low speed until mixture comes together, scraping down the bowl and hook as needed.

  2. On low speed, add butter, 1 tbsp at a time, until incorporated. Increase speed to medium and knead with the dough hook for about 10 minutes. The dough should have pulled away from the sides of the bowl.

  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning the dough, so it is evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  4. The next day, remove dough from refrigerator while preparing the filling. Butter two 8 1/2 to 9-inch loaf pans. Line pans with parchment paper, cutting to fit with some overhang. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.

  5. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll one dough half into a rectangle about 10 x 12-14 inches. The 10-inch side should be the closest to you.

  6. Spread filling (see below) over the rolled dough. Starting with the end closest to you, roll the dough fairly tightly. Place seam side down on the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling for your second babka.

  7. Place the cookie sheet with the two rolls in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Braiding babka and last rise

  1. Remove the rolled dough from the freezer. Working one roll at a time, use kitchen shears to cut lengthwise down the centre. Twist each roll, then braid the two pieces together, pinching the ends and place in one of the prepared pans. You may need to fold it to fit in the pan - don't worry, it'll just add to the beautiful swirls when you slice it! Repeat with the second roll. Don’t worry if the dough looks uneven in the pan.

  2. Cover the pans with buttered plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hrs. During the last 20 mins of rising, preheat the oven to 350ºF.

  3. Make the sugar syrup by combining the 2/3 cup sugar and 2/3 cup water in a pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Let the mixture boil for a minute or two, then remove from heat to cool.

Baking babka

  1. Once the rising time is finished, bake the breads in the oven for 40–50 minutes, or it reaches an internal temp of 190ºF. Place on a wire rack and poke the breads several times with a long skewer.

  2. Pour the cooled syrup over the babkas 1/4 cup at a time, dividing the syrup evenly. Let the babkas cool in the pans for about 40 minutes, then using the parchment to lift out of the pans. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

  3. Wrap cooled loaves in foil and store on the counter. Babkas may be wrapped well and frozen.

Filling (enough for two babkas):

Pistachio (enough for TWO babkas):

  • 1/2 cup softened butter

  • 2/3 cup pistachios, coursely chopped in a food processor

  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

Mix together the chopped nuts and cinnamon. Spread 1/4 cup butter over the rolled dough. Sprinkle with 1/3 nut mixture.

Syrup (enough for two babkas):

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 2 tsp rose water (or more/less to taste)

In a small sauce pan, bring the water and honey to a simmer and allow the honey to fully dissolve. Add in other ingredients and let simmer a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Zhuzh it up!

  • Babka can be filled with whatever your heart desires. Try a savoury babka with sun dried tomato and feta cheese!

  • We've also got recipes for cinnamon and chocolate-filled babka over here!

This amazing babka dough recipe was written by Ree Drummond. Find it on


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