Ari’s Pick: Eve’s Apple Babka

Getting ahead of Rosh Hashanah’s arrival

overhead view of Eve's Apple Babka on a wooden cutting board with two slices cut and another on a plateReady to kick the New Year off in good form? Eve’s Apple Babka is a new babka from the Bakehouse, made specifically for this year’s celebration of the Jewish High Holidays.

The History of Babka

Babka, as you may likely know, is one more food that comes out of the culinary traditions of Eastern European Jews. I did not grow up with it at all but almost every Jewish person I know from the East Coast did. “Baba” is a reference to a Polish Easter cake, and it’s also a reference to “babushka,” or grandmother. Like the New Yorker onion rolls I wrote about last week, it would likely have arrived in the Americas in the large waves of late 19th/early 20th century arrivals of Jewish immigrants.

Babka’s origin—where it is most consumed and associated with the culture—is in Belarus, the Baltics, Ukraine, and Russia. The old forms of babka were likely much larger, somewhere from the size of a modern-day panettone on up to a few feet high. The original name was likely “baba,” meaning grandmother. One theory says that with the modern era’s smaller sizes, the name shifted to the diminutive, “babka,” meaning “little grandmother.” Others say the tall shape they were made in resembles a grandmother’s pleated skirts. One origin theory says babka is indigenous to Ukraine, where it was part of an ancient fertility symbol used in the matriarchal system once in place in the region.

Eve's Apple Babka, cut in half with cut ends facing the viewer

Babka at the Bakehouse

We’ve been happily making Chocolate Raisin Babka at the Bakehouse for many years. This new Babka celebrates the coming Rosh Hashanah season. Apples and honey are classic Eastern European eating for the holiday. Now we can eat them in the form of this beautiful baked good!

It’s particularly tasty cut into slices, then browned lightly in butter. Great with gelato, more butter, or just as it is. The hygroscopic nature of the honey (it absorbs moisture over time) and the juiciness of the roasted apples make the dough a bit richer and moister. I can’t guarantee Eve’s Apple Babka will make the coming year culinarily better than the last few—I will ensure that at least you’ll be getting it off to an awesomely flavorful start!

The new Eve’s Apple Babka will be available throughout the month of September.


Ari headshot
Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner at Zingerman's | + posts

In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.

Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.

Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.

One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.

Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.

Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!

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