• Dora Cavallo


Updated: May 28, 2020

What makes this chocolate pistachio babka so dreamy? The dough is scented with orange zest, pistachios and cardamon and its rolled together with a chocolate tahini filling. Now it has a lot going on but let me tell you everything works. I've been obsessed with babka ever since I heard about it on Seinfeld, and lately I can't stop baking them. You will fall in love with this swirly confection that is a cross between a bread and a dessert. I had this idea to create a babka recipe with all my favorite flavors. A complete win on all levels. Yes, this is the babka of my dreams. No exaggeration at all. I put a lot of love into this bread and it paid off. If you've never made babka, don't be intimated by making bread or trying to create the perfect swirly pattern. The recipe is forgiving and all the rolls and twists you create will turn into a swoon worthy treat.

I love the whole process of bread baking because it's mediative and so satisfying. I had to stop at each step and take a few snaps, because the transformation of the dough is so amazing. I felt like a proud mama. Don't worry, I'll just limit it to these two.

Okay, one more. I mean, look at those swirls of chocolate tahini filling and flecks of pistachio.

I'm swooning here.

Flour and yeast are back on the shelves and since it's a long weekend, this is a great excuse to make this lovely little number. Roll up those sleeves and grab your rolling pin. We have some serious weekend baking to do.


(makes one large 9 inch round babka or 2 8 inch loaves)



  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 stick of butter, room temp

  • 1/2 cup of sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of dry yeast

  • 3 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup finely ground pistachios

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 2 eggs, room temp

  • 1 teaspoon cardamon

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 stick of butter

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 6 ounces dark chocolate

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon water


  • Pour milk into a large measuring cup and heat in the microwave just until warm. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk, and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  • Sift the flour, cardamom and salt in a medium mixing bowl. stir in the ground pistachios and set aside.

  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, paddle the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, zest and vanilla together until smooth. Add in yeast mixture and mix until combined followed with the flour mixture.

  • Switch to a dough hook and add the room temp butter; mix on a medium speed until the butter is completely incorporated and a smooth dough is formed. This will take about 8 minutes.

  • Place dough into a lightly oil mixing bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 1/2–2 hours, then chill for 30 minutes so you can roll it out.

  • For the filling, place all the filling ingredients except the 2 ounces of chopped chocolate into a medium mixing bowl. Place bowl over a simmering pot of water and allow the mixture to melt. Whisk until a smooth.

  • Spray an 9 inch cake pan that has a 3 inch rim and line it with a circle of parchment. Or you can use 2 8 inch loaf pans. Spray the loaf pans and line with parchment with an overhang over the sides.

  • Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface into a a large rectangle about 32 inches across and 40 inches long. Spread the filling with an offset spatula in an even layer leaving a half inch border along the sides of the dough. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the top. Starting at bottom edge roll up the dough like you would if making cinnamon rolls. Seal the edges and place seam side down.

  • Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half and place the 2 pieces together side by side. Working from the middle out twist the 2 pieces around each other. Roll the dough into a large spiral and tuck the ends under. Place in the prepared pan. If making loaves, after twisting the dough together cut the dough in half and place in the loaf pans. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 1/2-2 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the egg wash by whisking the egg and water together. Brush over the top of the babka and bake for 60-65 minutes until golden brown or a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. The loaves will take about 40 minutes. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes then remove to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before serving.

For a printable copy, click here


  • replace the cardamon with cinnamon or ginger

  • instead of the chopped chocolate, use cocoa nibs or chopped nuts

  • use your favorite nut butter in place of the tahini

Did you make this recipe? Tag @mgracebakeshop on instagram and hashtag it #mgracebakeshop

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