Make this chocolate babka for a festive treat, then check out our classic chocolate babka, bûche de noël, festive biscuits, cupcakes, stollen and Christmas baking recipes. Also read our guide on what is kirsch to find out more about the liqueur used in this recipe and where to buy it.


  • 100ml whole milk
  • 550g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 150g at room temperature unsalted butter, cut into cubes


  • 150g dried cherries
  • 100ml kirsch
  • 50g soft light brown sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 125g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped
  • sea salt flakes
  • 150g shelled pistachios, ½ finely chopped, ½ thinly sliced


  • 100g caster sugar


  • STEP 1

    Heat the milk in a small pan over a low heat until warm but not hot. Put the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Tip ½ tsp of salt into one side of the bowl, and the sugar and yeast into the other. Mix each side into the flour with your hands, then use the dough hook attachment to mix until completely combined.

  • STEP 2

    Pour in the warm milk, then, with the mixer on medium, add the eggs, one at a time. Keep mixing the dough for 10 minutes until smooth, then gradually add the butter, one or two cubes at a time, until fully incorporated – this will take 5-8 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl – the dough will be very soft.

  • STEP 3

    Scrape the dough into a large bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 1 hour 30 minutes-2 hours or until doubled in size. Once doubled, chill for 1 hour.

  • STEP 4

    For the filling, put the dried cherries in a bowl and pour over the kirsch. Leave to soak for 45 minutes, then drain through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Roughly chop half the cherries, reserving the rest.

  • STEP 5

    Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and set aside. To make the filling, heat the sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, butter and a large pinch of sea salt flakes in a small pan over a low-medium heat, stirring continuously until everything has melted together. Transfer to a bowl, leave to cool completely, then chill for 40 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes until the mixture is thick but still spreadable.

  • STEP 6

    Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll out on a lightly floured worksurface to a roughly 70cm x 40cm rectangle. Spread the filling evenly over the dough using a spatula or palette knife, then evenly sprinkle over the chopped cherries and finely chopped pistachios. With the longest side closest to you, roll the dough up into a tight, long sausage. Transfer to a board, seam-side down, and cut in half lengthways so you have two long pieces. Lay the two pieces out in front of you, parallel to one another, and cross them over each other along the length in a plait-like pattern. Curl into a circle and join the ends to make a wreath, then carefully transfer to the lined baking sheet.

  • STEP 7

    Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and bake the babka for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

  • STEP 8

    For the syrup, simmer the sugar and the reserved kirsch from soaking the cherries over a high heat for 5 minutes until thickened. Brush the babka with the warm syrup. Scatter over the remaining cherries and the sliced pistachios. Serve warm, or leave to cool completely. Once cool, the babka will keep wrapped at room temperature for up to three days.

Also try Edd Kimber's babka buns

Chocolate Babka Buns Recipe with Pistachio


Adam Bush Chef Portrait
Adam BushDeputy food editor

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