I have something really pretty and really festive for us today. I hope it doesn’t send you running for the hills. When recipe hybrids are good — think pretzel croissants, cronuts, donut-looking cakes, donut-tasting muffins, brownie cookies, and pretty much everything on one of my favorite wildly creative cooking blogs — it’s usually because the two desserts that are mashed up have more in common than just cleverness, elements in each that make each other better.
It was the honey syrup that convinced me that babka-meets-baklava could clear this hurdle. Syrupy finishes are common in desserts from across the Middle East and Levant. It’s the finishing soak in baklava’s crispy baked phyllo and chopped nuts layers, pulling them together. It’s the finishing, shiny soak in the kranz-style babkas popularized by Ottolenghi. And it’s what makes this buttery, nutty, braided sweet bread wreath sweet glossy perfection, and deeply baklava-like.