The Italians have a delicious tradition of making sweet breads with fruit baked onto them. Here is a quick version, which is like a yeast scone. It does duty admirably as the sweet option for brunch. The dough can be made the night before and left to rise.
1 tbsp yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
1 tbsp olive oil
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
500g rhubarb, cut into 5cm lengths
¹/3 cup walnut pieces
¼ cup raw sugar
4 tbsp cream
Icing sugar, for dusting
400g ricotta, to serve
Preheat oven to 200C.
Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Do not mix yet – leave to stand about 5 minutes until yeast has dissolved. Whisk the mixture to remove any lumps and whisk in the oil.
Place the flour and salt in a warm bowl. Add the yeast mixture and mix well. Do not knead the dough. Place dough in a clean, oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm, draughtfree place until doubled in size, or leave overnight.
Punch the dough down and roll out on a floured surface into a rough oval about 35cm x 25cm. Place dough on an oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with the rhubarb and walnuts, then with the cream and the raw sugar. Set aside in a warm place until risen by about a quarter. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until well cooked.
To serve, dust the bread and ricotta with plenty of icing sugar and serve the bread hot or warm with a spoonful of ricotta.