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Salted Chocolate Pecan + Pumpkin Babkallah {vegan}

vegan, egg‐free, dairy‐free, soy‐free option, nut‐free option
Babkallah! A babka‐challah hybrid, stealing the best characteristics of both to create a beautiful chocolate‐swirled braided loaf. Pumpkin puree added to the dough gives it a bright orange hue, a sweet earthy flavour and extra pillowy‐ness. Studded with pecans and cinnamon sugar and topped with a flurry of flaky sea salt. Inspired by Bon Appétit's Chocolate‐Cinnamon Babkallah.
Servings 8



  • 120 ml / 1/2 cup almond milk lukewarm (use soy milk or coconut milk – from a carton not a can – if nut‐free)
  • 7 g / 2 1/4 tsp. / 1 sachet instant yeast
  • 180 ml / 3/4 cup pumpkin puree room temp (from about 1/2 medium roasted pumpkin – any sweet tasting pumpkin will do)
  • 25 g / 1/4 cup chickpea flour mixed with 60ml / 1/4 cup almond milk or water
  • 75 g / 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 55 g / 1/4 cup coconut oil melted and cooled
  • 100 g / 1/2 cup maple sugar or raw granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 565 – 625 g / 4 1/2 – 5 cups plain all‐purpose or bread flour

chocolate paste

  • 150 g / 1 1/4 cups roughly chopped good quality dark vegan chocolate 60–70% cacao
  • 120 g / 1/2 cup vegan butter or coconut oil*
  • 50 g / 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 30 g / 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


  • 25 g / 2 tbsp maple sugar or raw granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 120 g / 1 cup lightly toasted roughly chopped pecans omit if nut‐free


  • 60 ml / 1/4 cup water
  • 50 g / 1/4 cup maple sugar or raw granulated sugar

to finish

  • almond milk to brush the loaf soy or coconut milk if nut free
  • flaky sea salt



  • Whisk the lukewarm milk and the yeast together in a small bowl. Set aside to 'bloom' for about 10 minutes, until the mix is frothy and bubbly.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast mixture, pumpkin puree, chickpea flour mix, olive oil, coconut oil, sugar, sea salt and orange zest.
  • Begin adding 1 cup of flour to the wet mixture at a time, mixing with a fork until a shaggy dough has started to form. Fit the bowl into the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, and begin kneading the dough on low speed. Now add 1/2 cup of flour at a time to the mix until you've used up 4 1/2 cups.
  • Continue to knead the dough on low speed for 5 to 7 minutes (or if kneading by hand, about 10 minutes). If the mix still looks very wet and sticky, add another 1/4 – 1/2 cup of flour to the dough whilst kneading. The dough should be smooth, soft and lightly sticky when you finish kneading and should spring back slowly when you press a floured finger onto it.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.


  • While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a small saucepan over a low heat, melt the chocolate and vegan butter or coconut oil together, stirring often. Once melted, remove from the heat and sieve the cocoa powder and icing sugar over the mixture, whisk to combine. Pour into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge to cool and thicken. Remove from the fridge 10 – 15 minutes before spreading onto the dough, to allow it to soften.
  • Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a little bowl until combined. Set aside.


  • Place the water and sugar in small saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer over a low‐medium heat and allow to cook for about 2–3 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved and the mix has thickened slightly. Set aside to cool.

shape and rest

  • Punch the dough down and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 30 cm / 12‐inch long rectangle, about 2 1/2 cm / 1 inch thick. Gently spread 1/4 of the chocolate paste onto each rectangle, leaving a 2 1/2 cm / 1 inch border. Scatter 1/4 of the cinnamon sugar over each rectangle and 1/4 of the chopped pecans. Roll each rectangle up from the long edge to form a log. Pinch the seam closed tightly and do the same with the ends of the logs. Try to do this as quickly as you can so that the chocolate paste doesn't melt out.
  • Shape the challah following this tutorial. My challah braiding is by no means perfect yet, but this tutorial has helped me immensely – make sure you tuck all those edges in and under at the end as it instructs, or you will have a slightly flat challah like mine, rather than a nice rounded loaf!
  • Set the shaped dough onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper (or you can lightly oil a large, round enamel baking dish – I used my round shallow le creuset). Cover it lightly with a tea towel and allow it to rise for 1 hour, until puffy and risen by another 1/2.


  • While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180 celsius / 350 fahrenheit.
  • Brush the loaf with a little almond milk, then bake for 45 – 55 minutes, until golden brown, the babkallah sounds hollow when tapped and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with no dough attached. If the babkallah is browning too quickly, turn it down and bake at 160 celsius / 320 fahrenheit until cooked. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and brush the babkallah all over with the glaze. Sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt, then let cool completely before slicing and serving (this is important! don't slice until it's cool or you'll have dry/doughy bits).