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Pizza babka
Photograph: Hunter Abrams

Here's the story behind that pizza babka you've been seeing all over Instagram

The brainchild of MeMe's Diner former co-owner and baker.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

If you're anything like us, your Instagram feed is chock-full of delightful pastries, exciting ethnic entrées and odd but delicious-looking treats seemingly created to only attract curious social media scrollers. The latter category of dishes is mostly filled with unworthy recipes (hi, baked feta pasta) but also happens to be a repository of some truly awesome creations. Case in point: that pizza babka you've been seeing a lot of.

The dish is the brainchild of Bill Clark, co-owner and baker of the now-shuttered Brooklyn staple MeMe's Diner. Clark's recipe quite literally went viral after he published it on the January 28 installment of his new newsletter, A Piece of Cake.

Speaking of: if you miss MeMe's creations, we suggest you sign up for the newsletter, where he shares the sorts of recipes that his restaurant was known for (think Vietnamese iced coffee cake and pull-apart jelly doughnuts, just to name a few).

"Pizza babka started with a question: 'What do I want to eat right now?'," says Clark when discussing his invention. "Back in December of 2020, what I wanted was my mom's pizza bread. So I thought about how to take pizza bread a little further. I'd made Claire Saffitz's sour cream and chive rolls for Thanksgiving and it's such a great dough."

Pizza babka
Photograph: Hunter Abrams

After the Instagram post of his "first version" of the dish became popular, Clark decided to delve deeper into it on his newsletter.  "It's been a great response," he says. "One of the best things about writing the newsletter is seeing when subscribers make the recipes, and this is definitely the most made and shared one so far."

Unfortunately for New Yorkers, the chef doesn't plan on serving pizza babka around town just yet but, he says, that's all for the better. "Ideas that never quite fit as a restaurant dish, I can now write for the home kitchen," he says. After all, we've all been spending extra time at home—why not try our hands at something slightly different than what we're used to making in the kitchen?

Pizza babka
Photograph: Hunter Abrams

But if you just can't seem to scratch the itch to taste one of Clark's delicacies as prepared by him personally, consider heading over to Red Gate Bakery on the Upper East Side to order his red velvet bread, which you can find there until the end of February.

Does your sweet tooth hurt just yet?

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