Typically available between November and February, apricots are a star of the summer season. And what better way to celebrate the delicate stonefruit than with this recipe from Julia Busuttil Nishimura?
Apricot yeasted cake
I’ve always loved the idea of yeasted cakes, which are more like sweet bread than cake and can be topped with a variety of fruits. In Germany, you will find them baked with layers of fruit and a cheese mixture made of quark, and topped with a crunchy streusel layer. This is a very simple version and relies on in-season apricots to accentuate its flavour. Eat this cake warm from the oven or at the very least on the day of baking. As it is a yeasted cake, it will become dry as the days pass.
150ml full-cream milk
300g tipo 00 flour
7g active dry yeast
Pinch of fine sea salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
70g unsalted butter, softened
110g caster sugar
500g apricots, halved, stones removed, then quartered
3 cardamom pods, freshly ground
Warm the milk in a small saucepan over a low heat for 1–2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt, lemon zest, egg, butter and 50g of the caster sugar. Mix on a medium speed for 4–5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a bowl lightly greased with butter, cover and stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 30cm round tray with baking paper. Tip the dough onto the tray using a pastry scraper then use your hands to press the dough out to the edge of the tray. Arrange the apricots on the dough in concentric circles, leaving a small border at the edge. Mix the remaining caster sugar with the cardamom and sprinkle over the apricots and any exposed dough.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the apricots are soft and the dough is risen and golden. Serve warm or on the day of baking.
A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Armelle Habib.