Modern pastry making fascinates me but nothing beats the smell of a traditional freshly baked cake. Sometimes I am amazed how much certain scents can take you back in time.
And how much I would love to go back in time… to when I was a kid. To those Sundays spent in my room playing with toy soldiers. And our house would smell of cake. Here “cake” is deliberately generic cause I had no idea what was in the oven. And I couldn’t care less. I didn’t even have a sweet tooth. Food for me was that boring thing in between playing sessions.
I would love to go be to screw up less. To waste less time chasing an hedonistic lifestyle. I would definitely make other choices. Maybe the first one would have been stop playing with toy soldiers and check out what my mum was doing in the kitchen. Maybe I’d be a pastry chef now, who knows.
But it’s not possible to go back, and there is no point being nostalgic. The only thing I can do is to fill my house with that smell once again.
It was precisely at my mum’s house that I was browsing through an old cook book, when I saw this recipe: Apricot sweet flatbread. I was intrigued by its look, as it reminded me of a savory flatbread from the South of Italy: the focaccia pugliese (Apulia flatbread, awful translation I know).
The recipe seemed also very easy to make so I decided to replicate it with some adjustment.
First of all I used peaches in syrup simply because the local supermarket did not have the apricots in syrup. But you can use either.
Most importantly I added the buttermilk. If you are from the US this ingredient might be normal but it is not as common here in Italy.
This kind of cake tends to be dry so I decided to use buttermilk to moisten it.
Last but not least, I lowered the quantity of sugar. I like my cakes and pastries not too sweet but of course you can adjust it to your liking.
This Apricot Sweet Flatbread is ideal for breakfast or as an afternoon snack if only my daughter would taste my creations. But I know, food is that boring thing in between playing sessions.
Apricot Sweet Flatbread
- 350 g apricots in syrup 12.3 oz
- 70 g butter, at room temperature 2.5 oz
- 120 g sugar 4.2 oz
- 2 eggs
- 200 g flour 7 oz
- 120 g buttermilk 4.2 oz
- 7 g instant yeast 0.24 oz
- grated lemon zest ½ lemon
- pinch of salt
- confectioner sugar to sprinkle
- Preheat the oven at 180° C (355° F).
- Combine the butter with the sugar in a large bowl using the handheld mixer, until fluffy.
- Add the eggs, salt and grated lemon zest. Work briefly with the handheld.
- Also add the buttermilk and blend.
- Sift the flour together with the yeast and add them to the mixture. Mix well.
- Grease a rectangular cake pan (mine was 24 x 16 cm / 9.4 x 6.3 in).
- Pour the mixture evenly in the pan.
- Place the drained peaches on the mixture slightly apart and with the flat part facing down. There is no need to press the peaches down all the way as the cake will rise during baking and it will incorporate them.
- Bake at 180° C (355° F) for 30-40 minutes. Check cooking after 30 minutes.
- Let it cool off completely.
- Sprinkle with confectioner sugar, trying to avoid covering the peaches.