I think it was the first week of the lockdown. My doorbell rang. I hadn’t ordered anything, so I opened the door with caution. Turns out a friend of mine had bought Easter breads (flavored with mastic & mahlab) for her close-knit group of friends from a favorite bakery of mine in İstanbul, called Üstün Palmie. And I was one of those lucky recipients. It came to my door still warm from the bakery and I’ve been obsessed with baking the best version of it at home ever since. More on that later.
The obsession started with that bread–actually, sweetened and flavored breads are called çörek (pronounced “chö-wreck”) in Turkey–and continued with this wonderful Chocolate Babka, drenched in a dark caramel syrup.