I have never been one of those people who skips breakfast. I need something to eat within 10 minutes of getting out of bed, no matter how early it is, so I am always amazed by recipes for breakfast dishes that require hours of preparation. That old saying about breakfasting like a king, lunching like a lord and dining like a pauper is fine by me, as long as I get to have a pre-breakfast (like a kitchen maid?) first.
That said, there’s nothing like hot bread for breakfast. With this fruity loaf – my entry for May’s Fresh From The Oven challenge (hosted by La Cuisine de Sarah) – you can have your bread-like cake and eat it too.
Rhubarb and raspberry focaccia
This is based on a Ray McVinnie recipe from the 100th issue of Cuisine. It’s about as hands-free as breadmaking gets – there’s no kneading, the dough rises overnight and requires the minimum of fuss in the morning. You might need a cup of tea and a dry biscuit while it cooks if you’re like me and feel faint with hunger within minutes of getting out of bed, but it’s worth the wait. It’s also a good thing to take when you’re invited over for brunch – or to make for Mother’s Day.
500ml warm water
2Tbsp olive oil
800g strong white flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
300g rhubarb, cut into 3cm pieces
200g raspberries (frozen is fine)
3Tbsp raw sugar
Put the water in a large bowl and add the yeast. Stir to dissolve and leave for five minutes to start working. Add the oil and beat, well, then add the flour and salt. Mix well to form a dough. Cover the bowl with plastic and leave overnight.
In the morning, get up and turn the oven to 200C. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press/roll out to form a rough oval shape, about 35 x 25cm. Transfer to a lined baking tray. Lightly press the rhubarb and raspberries into the dough, then drizzle over the cream. Sprinkle with sugar and leave in a warm place for about 20 minutes until it has risen by about 25 per cent. (This is when you can retire back to bed with a cup of tea or have a shower or check your emails.)
Bake the loaf for 40-45 minutes, until golden and crusty. Dust with icing sugar and serve. This is very good with lots of cream cheese or very cold unsalted butter (isn’t everything?)