I have been making a version of this blueberry babka for several years. Each one was delish, but I was not completely satisfied with it and knew it could be better. It finally morphed into this Blueberry Lemon Crumb Babka.
And now I’m here to say: Folks, I have done it.
Just Look at These Beauties!
I LOVE this recipe. I am actually a bit addicted to it. Blueberry and lemon pair so well together and are a summer favorite. (In autumn, I love a blueberry with cinnamon and cloves.) It took me several tries to get the amount of blueberry filling correct. I ain’t complaining – I was more than happy to eat my mistakes!
Lemon Crumb Topping
I toyed with a lemon glaze or even a blueberry glaze but decided that was just too much. So I developed a lemon crumb topping. Um, YUM! (I have not yet done this, but you could probably toss a few blueberries in with the crumb topping as well…. Hmmmmm.)
One issue I was having with the crumb topping with my first couple of test batches was that they were not really sticking to the babka. Then it dawned on me that I had an unused egg white from the dough. So, I put that egg white to work, giving the tops of the babka an egg white wash, so that the crumbs would stick better to the top.
Making the Dough
For more information on making the dough and kneading it to the point of the windowpane test, check out my Cinnamon Toasted Pecan Babka post.
Here are some visuals for shaping Blueberry Babka:
Here are some tips for this awesome summer blueberry babka:
I find it tons easier to make the dough the night before and the filling at least a day before. Doing this breaks up the work and makes it sooooo much easier to roll out the dough in the morning, spread the filling, and shape the babkas. You can also make the crumb topping the night before too, but there is plenty of time to make that while the babkas are rising.
When making the dough, you’ll need the zest of, at most, one lemon. I generally use one medium lemon’s worth of zest for the dough. If I have a large lemon, I will reserve one teaspoon worth of the zest for the crumb topping by wrapping it in plastic wrap and refrigerating until making the crumb topping, and use the rest of the zest in the dough.
You may think that there is not enough filling when you start spreading it. Think again! You want to spread a thin layer of it. Remember, you are going to slice open the rolled up dough, exposing the filling. If the filling is too thick, it will weigh down the babka and collapse in the center when you remove it from the oven. If you make the filling in advance, store it in the refrigerator and just give it a quick stir before you start spreading it. To make sure you only use half the filling on the first babka, it is a wise idea to weigh the filling and weigh out half of that amount.
Blueberry Lemon Crumb Babka
- Yeast: If using instant yeast, reduce the amount of yeast to slightly more than 5 grams (1¾ tsp.). Also, if using instant yeast, it may take less time for your babkas to rise.
- Make Components in Advance: It is actually easier to roll out the dough and shape it with the filling when it is cold. As mentioned in Step 6, you can place the covered bowl, before letting the dough rise, in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, continue with Step 7. The dough may not have doubled in size in the refrigerator, but that is not a problem. After you have shaped the babkas and placed them in the pans in Step 13, allow them to rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 1½ to 2 hours, rather than 1 hour. Likewise, you can make the blueberry filling the day before (or even several days in advance). Just give it a good stir before you spread it on the babka dough. The lemon crumb topping can also be made a day before and stored in the refrigerator until you spread it on top of the babkas.