(This is something I made last week, but am now just getting to post. I’m actually at home with my feet up. Literally. I have this weird thing going on with my left ankle that makes it difficult for me to focus on anything, so bare with me. I will spare you the details. I just really hope it gets better soon. I guess I’m glad that it’s not the flu, though. For the last few years, I’d get a flu at the tail end of flu season–March or April. The flu viruses are so strong nowadays that one usually can’t even watch TV in bed, because the fever, chills, and body aches are so severe that it actually hurts even just to watch TV! So, yeah, I’m grateful I can at least watch cable TV and have streaming Netflix and Amazon Prime and be relatively comfortable!)
I decided to try making focaccia again, but this time, I added more than just a few herbs. I think I may have gone overboard, and should just call them pizza!
I think the main difference with pizza and focaccia is that with pizza, there’s usually a base sauce, usually tomato, that gets put on top before any other toppings, followed by cheese, usually mozzarella.
Focaccia, on the other hand, is really just herbs and a few other ingredients. As Emeril would’ve said, this is just kicking it up a notch!
I used the recipe that I posted about here for fougasse, which is a French recipe for focaccia.
I keep thinking someone is going to knock on my door to tell me that I’ve violated some rule about how focaccia should not have too many things on it, and that they’ll have to confiscate all my superfluous toppings from my kitchen!
The inspiration for this was really just surfing the internet and seeing these ingredients used over and over again in really neat baked goods. They all go really well with each other, and I think a sweet/salty/crunchy/creamy combination to any dish is in order. Wouldn’t you agree? I almost added pears into the mix, but then the title would be even longer. Plus, pears are not really in season yet. If figs were in season, I’d definitely use fresh figs!
This glass jar of honey was something I found last weekend at a Latino grocery store when we were searching for ingredients for the tamales that we made last week. I especially like that it has some honeycomb in it. I have never seen honey sold this way. I’m way more familiar with the plastic bottle that’s shaped like a bear that one can find in a dollar store.
Fig, Walnut, Caramelized Onions, Blue Cheese, and Honey Focaccia Bread
2/3 cup water for yeast, warm, about 110 degrees F
1 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups AP flour
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon, olive oil
1 cup warm water
2 cups chopped dried mission figs, more or less, depending on your taste
2 medium onions, (I used this recipe)
5 ounces gorgonzola, more or less, depending on your taste
1 1/3 cup walnut halves, toasted
honey, for brushing and drizzling
olive oil for pans, and for brushing and drizzling
2 rimmed rectangular shaped baking sheets, approximately 16 X 11 inches each
1. In a small bowl, place 2/3 cup warm water, around 110 degrees F, ideally. This temperature feels lukewarm to us, sort of like what you’d use for a warm bath–not too hot, but not cold. Add the sugar and the yeast. Let sit, undisturbed, to bloom, about 5 minutes.
2. Combine flour and salt in a bowl, and use a whisk to blend together. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, add the flour/salt mixture, and the yeast mixture, Plus 1 cup warm water, and the olive oil. Mix until combined.
3. Switch to bread hook and beat for ten minutes. It is okay for the dough to be wet and sticky and for it to pool at the bottom of the bowl. Add chopped figs and mix for about 1 minute.
4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes, adding flour if it’s too wet. Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil, and place the dough into it turning it so that the sides of the dough are coated with oil.
5. Let sit covered with plastic wrap, or a towel, for about 2 hours, until doubled in size. The amount of time it sits may depend on the temperature of the place you set the bowl.
6. When doubled in size, punch down the dough. This helps remove air pockets, and also to redistribute the yeast and other ingredients.
7. Divide the dough in half, and place each dough in separate baking sheets that have been greased liberally with olive oil, or baking sheets lined with silpats (nonstick high heat tolerant silicone pads), and with the pad and sides greased well. Using your hands, try to get dough to line the pan all the way to the edges.
8. Divide the onions in half, and top each dough, spreading the onions evenly and press down gently. Using your hands with your fingers down like you are playing a piano or typing, press down on the dough to make indentations. This is what gives focaccia its distinctive dimpled look. (As you can see, I did not press down hard enough. (Aarrgh–next time!). Continue topping, doing the same thing with the walnuts, and for the blue cheese.
9. Cover each baking sheet with a clean towel and let rise again, for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set shelves in oven to the topmost and bottom levels. You’ll want to switch baking sheets, and rotate them halfway through bake time.
10. In a small bowl, place 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 Tablespoons of honey and whisk well. It doesn’t have to be blended completely. When each dough is ready to be baked, brush the tops of each bread with this oil/honey mixture.
11. Bake for 30 minutes, more or less, depending on desired browning wanted. Halfway through, about 15 minutes in, switch baking sheets on each rack to the other rack, and rotate each baking sheet so that the sides facing the oven door now face the back.
12. When done, cool on wire racks, and drizzle with some honey and sprinkle with some sea salt, if desired, before serving. This is best on the same day, but if you can’t eat this all, cool completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for later.