Preheat the oven 356°F (180 °C). Prepare a deep cake form, deep forms for the dough, a wide and deep pot for the syrup.
Use a mixer, although you can stir by hand with a wooden spoon for an extended period.
Pour the dry yeast in 1 2/3 tbsp (25 ml) water at room temperature. Stir and immediately pour it into a bowl along with 2 tbsp (30 g) flour. Knead quickly into a ball, leave it to rise about 30 min. in a warm area. This is a kind of pre-rise.
Pour all of the flour, taken out of the fridge, into the mixer bowl, along with a little salt, stir with the mixer beaters and add the entire piece of risen yeast mixture. Stir again.
Beat the eggs with a fork, pour them into the mixture while beating nonstop with the mixer on low, then add the 2 tbsp (30 g) sugar. Start beating the dough on low - medium speed for about 15 min., then turn it up to high and beat for another 15-20 min.
The dough will be ready once it starts coming off the walls of the mixer bowl. This extended period of beating activates the gluten. The dough needs to be as stretchy as possible.
Change out the beaters with a dough hook, lower the speed to medium and start adding the butter cube by cube until each subsequent one is fully absorbed. This could take up to 20 min.
You need to obtain a very soft, sticky, highly stretchy and light-colored dough. When you lift it up with a wooden spatula it needs to stretch just like gum without tearing. Flip it over a few more times with the spatula and leave to rise about 3-4 hours until it fills up the bowl to the top.
Once it's fully risen, tap it on top, tear a piece off with your hands and mash it between your thumb and index finger so that a dough bubble about 2 oz (55 g) in size appears between your fingers.
Pinch this bubble off with your fingers to separate it from the rest of the dough place it in a small, well buttered, narrow metal form. Fill the form halfway. There are about 22-24 forms per tray, fill them too. Pour the rest of the dough directly into a medium-sized, well-buttered cake form with a hole in the middle. Leave the dough to rise in the forms until it fills them to the top.
Bake in the preheated 356°F (180 °C) oven about 15-20 min. After they cool, take them out onto a cooking grid and leave overnight. They need to become crumbly.
Pour the water and sugar into a pot. Put it on a moderate stove. Add the whole pieces of lemon and orange rinds, star anise and stick of cinnamon. Stir until the sugar melts. Once the syrup comes to a boil, turn the stove off and add all the rum in at once. Cover with a lid to prevent the rum from evaporating. Leave in a warm area.
Let the syrup cool to about 122°F (50 °C) and dip the baked cakes in it. Press on the small cakes with a slotted spoon for about 3-4 min. After taking them out of the syrup, you can drain them lightly with your hand, then place on a cooking grid. Place the large savarin cake carefully in the warm syrup and keep it there on one side for 3.5 min., then flip to the other for another 3.5 min.
Use rubber gloves so you don't rub your hands when flipping it over. Be careful so it doesn't break. Place on a cooking grid with a tray underneath to drain off the excess syrup. You can also baste it with the drained syrup. Let it cool completely.
Apricot jam glaze:
Put 2-3 tbsp apricot jam and 2 tbsp water in a casserole. Leave on moderate heat to simmer lightly until the mixture becomes like liquid honey. Remove from the stove and blend it, don't cool it any more. Use a brush to distribute it onto the cakes on all sides.
Put the egg whites, which you've had at room temperature, in the mixer bowl. Beat to foam. Add the lemon juice and sugar in lots. Beat about 7-10 min. to a nice, heavy snow. Fill a pasty bag and use a star-shaped tip to squeeze out a rose onto each cake; on the large one spray them out in a large circle. Use a cook's blow torch on them briefly. Top off with a Maraschino cherry. You can also pour on Maraschino syrup for decoration.
Chill and serve with a ball of whipped cream. You can also slice each of the little cakes down the middle and fill with meringue.
Source: Real Deal, MasterChef Bruno Albouze
Notes: This Italian cake requires a strong flour, which is why I used Manitoba but you can use others. Follow the recipe exactly, cool the flour, as well as the eggs.
Using fresh yeast is the more common option.
You can use whole pieces of just lemon or just orange. Instead of rum you can use limoncello.
Measure the temperature of the syrup with a thermometer.
It's a unique, beautiful, impressive dessert with a soft, bubbly texture filled with aromas. Highly suitable for the Christmas holidays.