100ml warm milk
1 ½ tsp dried yeast
150g plain flour
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
1 ½ tsp caster sugar
¾ tsp fine salt
50g unsalted butter, softened plus more for lining moulds
For the syrup
600g caster sugar
6 thin strips of pith-free lemon peel
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
6-8 tsp dark rum and whipped cream to serve
Rinse bowl of electric mixer with boiling water, wipe dry then add milk, yeast and 50g of flour. Stir well and leave for 15 minutes until foamy. Add remaining flour, egg and yolk, sugar and salt and beat for 2 minutes. Finally, add butter and beat for another 2 minutes. Cover bowl and leave in a warm place until doubled in height. Butter insides of small 30ml dariole moulds. Half fill with dough and set them aside to rise further.
Meanwhile make syrup by heating sugar, water, lemon peel and vanilla and simmer for 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 190C. When dough has reached top of moulds bake in oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and unmould babas. Place them in a deep bowl and pour hot syrup over them. Sit a plate over them to keep them dunked under syrup. Serve when cooled, split in half with a little rum drizzled on top and some whipped cream.