Sweet rhubarb and walnut bread with ricotta

Sweet rhubarb & walnut bread
Sweet rhubarb & walnut bread 

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.