Sweet Focaccia with Summer Fruit.
With Independence Day behind us it’s safe to say that Summer has barreled in full force. In fact, here in Hollywood, it’s sat its big, luxurious bottom down with a juicy plop. Everywhere I turn I see the fruit of summer’s labor. And I do mean fruit. Most notably stone fruit. Nectarines, peaches, plums and all those crazy cross-breeds with names that make you smile – pluots, plumcots and apriums, oh my!
These are the boisterous fruit of summer, and the Hollywood Farmers Market is overflowing with more varieties than I’ve ever seen before. It used to be “a peach was a peach and a plum was a plum” and that was that. Not that I’m complaining. The best of these cross-breeds have intense, intriguing flavors. Some are so raucous I can hear them screaming my name all the way up here in the hills where I live. If you ask me these sweet dreams don’t need to throw stones to start a riot. So after I’ve had my fill of them eaten out of hand, I usually try to calm their impetuous nature anyway I can. This year I attempted that taming with a Sweet Focaccio topped with sliced nectarines.
Cyprès de Climens
Price $25 half bottle, 375ml
Pairs well with foie gras, salty or spicy cuisine, cured ham, high fat cheeses, Roquefort, pineapple, and creme brûlée.
This version of Sweet Focaccia is only slightly sweetened, with just 1/4 cup of sugar in the dough. Which makes this a not too sweet ending to a light summer meal. Though I’ll admit I found this bread just as delicious with my tea and the morning paper.
I have to say, I’m taking a few liberties by calling this yeasty cake a focaccia. It strays from Italian tradition in several key ways. First, it uses butter instead of olive oil and I added a touch of cream to give the bread a soft texture. It’s also baked at a lower temperature to keep the fruit brightly colored. I’m not sure if Italians would even approve, but it’s going on my (not so) short list of summer favorites.
This recipe is also highly adaptable. My version is made with nectarines. But you could use peaches or plums (or any of those crazy, clamoring cross-breeds) in your version of Sweet Focaccia. In fact go ahead and mix in a few roughly chopped nuts and summer berries if you like. The raspberries at the Hollywood Farmers Market are screaming for attention this summer. It just depends on which of the boisterous summer fruit is calling to you the loudest. GREG