Summer I tend to bake a little less. Not that I don't LOVE to bake. Not that I don't have little customers complaining at my lack of baking activity.
But you see, we were just in Italy for the first part of the summer and I didn't do much in the kitchen, other than help stir a risotto or slice fruit for one of my mother-in-law's amazing crostatas.
Teresa's (my mother-in-law) kitchen is pretty small and let me tell you, she moves at lightning speed! So it's better that I do as less possible in the kitchen. Something unavoidably happens when we get back to our little Florida kitchen, I don't know where to start! I lean towards creating Italian recipes I saw Teresa make. I try to find the same ingredients and do my own riff of her culinary genius.
Deciding on what to bake was pretty easy! I have been obsessed with sweet apricots in Italy and here in Florida. I couldn't wait to cook some up and top a super easy (and reliable) dough that I use almost every week.
I found the apricot bread recipe here in Bon Appetit and adapted it slightly (fresh apricots, used different dough recipe, no anise in the dough). Feel free to use only dried apricots if you can't find any ripe fresh ones!
Apricot Summer Bread
I use this recipe for the bread dough found here.
- for the dough (see notes)
- for the topping
- 2 cups dried apricots
- 3 apricots, sliced in small pieces
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 1 1/4 teaspoons almond extract, divided
- Combine apricots (dried and fresh) and 2 cups water in a large heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring and mashing apricots occasionally, until fruit is very soft and broken down and most of liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar; stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in preserves and 1 tsp. almond extract. Let cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
- Follow directions for focaccia.
- Punch down dough; divide in half. Place half of dough in the center of a 12-inch-square piece of parchment paper. Using your fingertips, shape dough into a 9-inch round. Slide dough on parchment paper onto one end of a large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough on another piece of parchment; transfer to other end of baking sheet. Divide apricot mixture between rounds, leaving a 3/4 inch plain border.
- Loosely cover tarts with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until puffed but not doubled in size, 45–50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. Beat egg with 2 tsp. warm water in a small bowl.
- Brush border of dough with egg wash. Bake until crust is golden, 25–30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
- DO AHEAD: Bread can be baked 1 day ahead. Let cool completely. Wrap in foil and store at room temperature. Reheat in a 350° oven until warm, 10–15 minutes. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable freezer bag for up to 1 month. Thaw before reheating.
- Dust hot bread with powdered sugar. Serve at room temperature.