Caramelised radicchio and winter rhubarb round
The month of January is all about heart warming soups and stews, working through the post-Christmas cheeseboard (still going strong in the fridge) and half-empty jars of chutney. This week’s recipe works perfectly with all these options (plus nothing beats the smell of a homemade loaf baking in the oven on a grey afternoon). Radicchio is kneaded into an enriched dough with winter rhubarb to make a loaf with an interesting pinkish-buff-coloured crumb. Serve generous hunks with soups and stews. It’s also good with hard cheeses, slices of apple and chutney. Just the thing…
Recipe makes 2 x 500g loaves
You will need 2 baking sheets, 1 lined with baking parchment (for the rhubarb), the other lightly greased
For the sponge ferment:
3g/½teaspoon fresh yeast or 2g dried
150g strong white flour
For the filling:
300g pink winter (forced) rhubarb, cut into 4cm pieces
300g radicchio leaves, shredded (radicchio is bitter-flavoured but slowly cooked becomes as sweet as fruit)
A small knob of butter
For the dough:
1 quantity of sponge ferment (above)
180g Italian ‘00’ white flour, plus extra for dusting
60ml/4 tablespoons extra virgin or rapeseed oil
5g sea salt
1 Put all the sponge ferment ingredients into a bowl, mix well and leave to ferment for 1 hour at room temperature.
2 Prepare the rhubarb and radicchio. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/ Gas mark 6. Put the rhubarb on the lined baking sheet 1cm apart. Bake for about 30 minutes, until roasted but not browning.
3 Put the radicchio in a frying pan with the butter and 1 tablespoon of water, and cook over a very low heat for about 15 minutes, until the radicchio is dark brown and tastes sweet. It must not burn, but it will lose its red colour.
4 Put the dough ingredients, including the sponge ferment, into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat for about 10 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl to a floured worktop using dough scrapers. Scatter the rhubarb and radicchio over two-thirds of the surface. Fold into 3, like a letter, using floured dough scrapers to lift the dough. Pat the dough gently then fold again. Repeat one more time. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.
5 The following day, take the dough from the fridge. It will be bubbly and firm. Scrape it out of the bowl on to the worktop then lift one edge with a scraper, bringing it into the centre. Repeat, working around the piece of dough, by which time you will have a neat round. Pick up the dough, turn it over so the smooth side is uppermost, and place it on the greased baking sheet. Dust it with a light covering of flour, if it is not already quite floury. Leave to prove for 1 hour, until well risen.
6 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Before baking, make a series of shallow slashes on the surface of the round with a blade, like a windmill. Bake for 20–30 minutes until pale brown and airy. Cool on the baking sheet, then slice and eat.
*Recipe from The Pocket Bakery by Rose Prince, published in hardback by Weidenfeld & Nicolson at £18.99.
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