Kiwi Swirled Buns or Babka

Who knew that kiwi filling would be so amazingly tasty??  Originally, I just wanted to use up the rest of the candied dried kiwi I got for last year's fruitcake.  I decided to use half of my dough from last month's potato Feather Rolls to make a kiwi babka.  The resulting babka was insanely delicious for me.  I definitely wanted to make it again and figured the lovely green filling would be perfect for a St. Patrick's Day recipe.  Trouble was, candied dried kiwi seems to be a seasonal item.  At least, I didn't want to make multiple trips to try to find it when the original store no longer had it in stock.  So for the second batch, I ended up candying my own!  Both were equally good, though the home candied were easier to blend into a filling as they were significantly softer.  Kiwi seeds have a delightful, light crunch and were more apparent in the filling made with home candied kiwi.  If you are wondering about the flavor, it is a sweet, tart, and citrusy flavor with a hint of green apple candy.  I absolutely love it and want to make kiwi jam based off the filling now.

Since the filling needs to be spread fairly thinly to prevent a lot of leakage when shaping, I made a full batch of feather roll dough so that I could make both swirled buns and another babka with alternate shaping.  I did add one drop of forest green gel food color to my candied kiwi.

You could use any plain or sweet roll dough or a simple white bread dough to make these tasty pastries.

Kiwi Swirled Buns or Babka
makes 6 buns and one small babka

One batch of favorite roll or sweet roll dough ~2.75-3 pound lb batch (1250-1360g)

Kiwi filling:
¾ cups candied dried kiwi*
¼ cup orange juice
3 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp sugar 

To make the Kiwi Filling: Combine dried kiwis, orange juice, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Cook uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kiwis are softened and liquid is reduced by half.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  When cool, transfer mixture to a food processor and process until a puree forms. Cover and set aside at room temperature.  

*Store bought dried kiwi, candied with sugar and dried; homemade was also candied with sugar and dried.

Storebought candied kiwi based

Home candied kiwi based

Yes, you can make your own.  I partially
dried mine in a dehydrator overnight.

To make 6 swirl buns:

Roll out half the dough into a long rectangle, about 18x8 inches.  Spread with a thin layer of filling.  It is easiest to use an offset spatula.

Fold the dough over itself by thirds to create a letter tri-fold packet.

Turn the dough so the open ends are on the sides and slice into 6 equal strips.

Gently tease each strip a little longer and twist around into a knot, folding the ends underneath.  This can get messy, especially if you use too much filling.

Allow buns to rise until just about double, then bake at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow buns to cool slightly and top with a simple glaze of 1 cup powdered sugar and 2-3 tbsp milk, or as needed to get desired drizzling consistency.  (I prefer a thicker drizzle but you can also make a thin glaze and use it to wash the whole top.)

Buns are best eaten the day they are made and since the feather roll dough can be chilled overnight, this is a great morning recipe that doesn't require getting up super early.  To reheat later, a toaster oven on warm or reheat, or medium low oven works great.  Heat until the glaze starts to bubble a little.

To make a small babka, there are a few different shaping methods.

One is to roll the dough out into a rectangle, the width of your loaf pan.  I recommend an 8x4 inch pan for a half batch of dough.  This is how I made the first batch last month.

Spread on the filling thinly and roll up jelly roll style as for cinnamon rolls, pinching the edges to seal.    Cut through the roll lengthwise and turn the cut sides up.  Gently lift and crisscross the pieces, always keeping the filling side up.  Carefully lift into a buttered loaf pan.  (This will be extremely messy if too much filling is used!)

First batch, too much filling, needed to be thinner.

Ended up scooping out some of the oozing filling.

Let dough rise until doubled.

Tent top with foil at end to prevent over-browning.

Glaze as desired.

Cover the pan and let rise until doubled, bake at 375ºF for 25-35 minutes until done.  Internal temperature should be around 200ºF.  Cool and glaze as desired. 

Outrageously good toasted and buttered!

Another method for a babka:

Roll out and spread filling as above. Fold dough in
half and cut 1 inch strips to about 2 inches from fold.

Twist each strip well and roll back to rest
on the un-sliced portion.

Carefully lift into the buttered pan and let rise.

Bake as above.

Glaze as desired.

I am totally tempted to try this method out with home candied strawberries now!


  1. This is gorgeous! I need to try your second shaping method.

    1. The benefit of the second type of babka shape with the curled twists, is that it holds together better in the toaster. And those pieces, toasted and buttered, are seriously good. I've had two today.

  2. Babka, it should be explained, is a sweet yeast bread, like cake. Its dough is richer than that of a cinnamon bun but not as rich as Danish dough. It features a sticky, gooey, addictive filling of cinnamon sugar or chocolate sugar spread and either a glossy glaze or a crumb topping — or both white aprons

    1. That is definitely one of the many iterations of babka, which includes chocolate, cinnamon, fruit, almond paste, or cheese. The original fillings would have been the most readily available cinnamon or fruit jam fillings and the dough was usually leftover challah dough as it originated in Jewish communities, and was not originally sweet. The sugar industry in America made challah and many baked goods and treats into the overly sweet concoctions found nowadays.

  3. Kiwi Swirled Buns or Babka is a creative and flavorful twist on the traditional sweet bread known as babka. Babka is a type of enriched dough typically filled with various sweet fillings and then twisted or braided before baking. Adding kiwi to the filling adds a unique and refreshing flavor to the buns or babka. Here's a basic recipe to guide you:

    Is Kiwi a Fruit or Vegetable


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