Even if the “babà” has a polish origin, in the 19° century it took a central position in the traditional neapolitan patisserie. The story tells that the Babà must birth took place thanks to Stanislao Leszczinski, Poland’s monarch from 1704 to 1735. The monarch, embittered for his failures in reigning, used to to mitigate his mood with sweets. Infact he surrounded himself with patissiere chefs who everyday had to create a new sweet for the King. But Their creativity was insufficient and they always served to the monarch the same “Kugelhupt”, a typical polish cake, made by fine flour, butter, sugar, eggs and grapes. One day Stanislao, furious for the last Kugelhupt served, threw the plate on the table and touched a bottle of Rhum, which completely turned upside down on the cake. Under the eyes of all presents, took place a metamorphosis: the dough rised, the colour became amberish and a sweet fragrance flooded the room. The Monarch, very cuorious about that transformation, tasted it. That day the Neapolitan sweet called Babà was born.The babà from Poland arrived in Naples with the “monsù”, chefs who worked at the most prestigious Neapolitan families.
It was thanks to the neapolitan patissieres’ majesty and creativity that the “babà” became even softer and got the typical mushroom’s shape through a long leavening.
Since that time the babà became one of the typical sweet of Naples.
What distinguishes the neapolitan babà from the polish one is the spilling of rhum. There are different ways to taste the babà: stuffed with chocolate or cream, strawberries and black cherries or with Limoncello. It can be as a big donut or in a little size, that is perfect to eat while walking in the streets of the city!
You can find the best babà in town at Mary, in the Umberto gallery or at Tizzano at Corso Meridionale…you will not be disappointed!
If you read the italian version, click here.