I already want to make this pecan pie babka again because I love it so much. When I first made babka, I just did it to see what it was all about and I was blown away by how delicious it is. So naturally, I had to make a Fall version! This babka recipe uses pecans, maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the filling. I mean come on, how good does that sound?
How to shape babka
Seriously, babka is so easy to make but it looks so impressive. If you make this for Thanksgiving, everyone will be in awe of those nutty swirls! Forget pecan pie, pecan babka is where it’s at.
So how do you get that signature swirl? It’s similar to making cinnamon rolls but instead of making individual slices, you make one big cut down the length of your log to expose all of the layers. You take your two halves and twist them together to showcase the beautiful design on top. This blog post has a great step-by-step guide.
For this recipe, it’s especially easy because the filling is fairly stiff. It can get messy when making a chocolate babka because the filling tends to spill out. You can avoid this by leaving a half inch boarder around the edge of your dough when spreading the filling.
What does babka taste like?
From the ones I’ve tried, it tastes like a rich buttery dough that just melts in your mouth. It’s similar to cinnamon rolls but it’s a little bit fluffier and richer. This is due to the amount of butter added to the dough and since it’s at room temperature, you get a smooth buttery texture as opposed to a flakey one.
Classic babka is filled with chocolate which pairs so well. The chocolate is slightly bitter which balances out the sweetness and creaminess of the loaf. Plus, chocolate adds a great contrast to those beautiful swirls!
There are endless amounts of fillings you could use for babka. There’s chocolate hazelnut, cinnamon sugar, rum raisin, maple bacon, peanut butter banana…I mean the list goes on and on. I’m even getting some more inspiration here!
Baking your pecan pie babka
The trickiest part about this recipe is knowing when it’s done. I had to bake this three different times just to get the bake right! Since the top turns a rich golden brown, you might think the center is done but you should always double check.
One sign is how much it puffs up. The center should have a nice round dome when it’s fresh from the oven. It will even out as it cools. If it starts to sink in the middle, place it back in the oven.
Also peak between each layer. Take a toothpick or fork to gently lift up any loose layers. If the center still looks a little raw and you don’t see those nice stringy crumbs, it will need to bake for a little bit longer.
Poking at it is another test you can use. If it springs back, it’s fully baked. If it takes a bit for it to come back or if it doesn’t spring back at all, then it’s not ready.
I just can’t resist those babka layers. It’s such a gorgeous dessert but takes much less effort than you think. For a classic babka recipe, check out my crunchy chocolate babka.
If you’re in need of even more fall or Thanksgiving recipes, here are some of my favorites:
- Pumpkin cheesecake cookies
- Pumpkin cinnamon rolls
- Apple cider crullers
- Caramel apple muffins
- Pumpkin bread with maple glaze
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram if you make this pecan pie babka. I love seeing my recipes come to life in YOUR kitchen! To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!
Pecan Pie Babka
- Total Time: Overnight
- Yield: 1 loaf
This babka recipe is filled with a delicious layer of pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon. It’s the perfect Thanksgiving dessert that everyone will love!
- 2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp whole milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 3 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- For the dough, combine the flour (just the 2 cups), sugar, and yeast in the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer.
- With the dough hook attachment, mix in eggs and 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp milk until it comes together (2-3 minutes).
- With the mixer on low, add the salt then the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it’s fully incorporated into the dough.
- Run the mixer on medium speed for about 10 minutes until the dough is completely smooth. Stop and scrape down the bowl a couple times during this process. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is still too wet, add in the other 2 tablespoons of flour.
- Coat a large bowl with oil, place the dough inside, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. The dough won’t double in size so don’t worry if it looks like yours hasn’t grown much.
- Before you take the dough out of the fridge, make your filling. Combine all of the ingredients (minus the nuts) either by hand or with a mixer. Fold in the nuts.
- Grease at 9×4 bread pan and line the bottom and short sides with one long strip of parchment paper.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out onto a well-floured surface. It should be 10.5-inches wide (the side closest to you) and 12.5-inches long (away from you). The extra half inch so you can cut off the sides to create perfect edges.
- Spread the filling in an even layer over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch all around the outside. Brush the end farthest away from you with water. Roll the dough up into a log (like making cinnamon rolls). You want to make sure the roll it tight enough so that there are no gaps between the layers but also not too tight to where the filling spills out.
- Gently cut the log through the middle lengthwise and lay one piece on the top of the other to form an X. Make sure the cut sides are facing up. Working on one side of the X, twist the two pieces together twice, still making sure the cut sides are facing up. Do the same to the other side of the X. You should be left with a fat twisted log with the pecan layers facing up.
- Place the babka into the bread pan and cover it with a damp tea towel. Leave it to rise for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.
- To bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the tea towel and bake on the middle rack for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. You can also peak into the layers to see if the middle is still raw. If it is, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the center is fully baked. If it browns too quickly, you can cover it with foil.
- When the babka is almost done baking, make the simple syrup. Bring the sugar and water to a simmer until the sugar dissolves (about 4 minutes). Remove from heat and let it cool for a couple minutes. When the babka is fresh from the oven, brush the simple syrup all over. Don’t skimp on this, make sure to use up every last drop.
- Let it cool half in the pan, and half on a cooling rack before eating. It’s best to eat while it’s still a little warm. Enjoy!
Keywords: babka, pecan pie babka, pecan babka
I am literally drooling over these photos, this babka looks beyond amazing! I love all these flavours and can’t wait to give this recipe a go!
Thank you Katerina!!
My kids are in love with this recipe!!! Super easy to make and disappears quickly in my house.
This recipe was sooo good! The bread texture was perfect and the flavors yummy. Love the maple syrup in it. Do you have recommendations on making a double batch? Is it safe to just double all the ingredients?
Yep double all the ingredients and bake the two loafs at the same time 🙂
Out of this world!!!
Sheila Bergner-Landry says
I made this last weekend and it is probably the BEST recipe that I have made in a long, long time. I was worried because of not dissolving the yeast first. I had to re-read things a couple of times to make sure I understood things correctly. My loaf did not rise in the refrigerator, and only a very small amount in the hour and a half I had it sitting out before baking. But I forged on and kept the faith that you knew what you were doing . . .
When I opened the oven – BINGO! While it didn’t rise ‘much’, it filled in the pan and made a dense, semi-moist loaf just oozing with caramel-like filling and nuts (I used fresh walnuts chopped small – I was out of pecans.) What a beautiful thing this Babka is!
I could LIVE in this loaf! Although I think I want to try the chocolate one next. My partner isn’t crazy about nuts (silly man!) More for me! 😛 I have photos but no place to upload them here. It is a thing of beauty both to look at and to eat. I want to blog about it because I am so excited. I am an artist but this is a form of art too, right?? 😉
Thanks for the great recipe! It is a keeper!
Ah yay! Thank you for such an amazing comment!
It turned out absolutely wonderful!!
Total novice baker and this recipe came out perfectly multiple times!!
Omg! This babka is amazing!! Working really hard to not eat the entire loaf in one day! Had it for brunch and just made drilled babka and Nutella sandwiches for dinner. Amazing! Had a little happy accident with my simple syrup- it ended up carnelian good a bit and was extra delicious . Thanks for sharing this recipe!!
Haha yay! Thanks for sharing!
I can’t wait to make this! Would I be able to leave the dough in the bread pan overnight and cook the next morning?
I haven’t tried it, but if you do I suggest chilling it overnight 🙂
Can I make this recipe without refrigerating it overnight? Ie. just let it rise to double its size and then move on to the next step of rolling out the dough, adding the filling, etc.….?
Yes as long as it has nearly doubled in size 🙂
How did it turn out with letting it rise instead of refrigerating overnight?
Any idea how many grams are in your cups of flour? Closer to 120 or closer to 150? Please advise!
I go with 130!
tasted amazing! defiantly making again 🙂
amazing i loved this recpie!
Hello! I’ve tried kneading this by hand and i find the dough to be very sticky, is there any solution or do I have to do it in the mixer for the recipe to work?
I suggest the mixer because the dough REALLY need to be worked!