Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Focaccia with Pears and Cheese

Focaccia is a traditional Italian leavened bread. The main ingredient is extra virgin olive oil, which make it soft and flavourful. So, if you decide to prepare this recipe, make sure to use a really good olive oil.

This focaccia version is two-layered with a filling of pear and Taleggio cheese. This filling is tasty but delicate at the same time. On the top the focaccia is spread with coarse salt and rosemary which give to the whole a crispy and aromatic touch. Perfect as an appetizer or a snack.

Focaccia with Pears and Cheese

Ingredients for the dough:
400 gr of all-purpose flour
25 gr yeast
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
250 ml warm water
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of sugar

Ingredients for the filling:
1 ripe pear
150 gr of semi-soft and tasty cheese, like Taleggio or Blue Cheese
1 tsp of coarse salt
1 tsp of dry rosemary
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

How to prepare:
First prepare the dough. In a cup melt the yeast in 250 ml of warm water. On a worktop, make a well in the flour and add the melted yeast, the extra virgin olive oil, the salt and the sugar. Start to knead. If the dough is too dry little by little add some more warm water and continue to knead. Knead until the dough is smooth. The consistency should be slightly softer than that of bread dough. Then put the dough in a bowl previously dusted with some flour, cover with a wet cloth and set the bowl in a warm and not too dry place. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.

Peel the pear, cut it in wedges and clean it from the core. Then cut it into thin slices. Peel the rind off the cheese and cut it into small dices.

Grease a worktop with some olive oil. Transfer the focaccia dough from the bowl on the worktop. With a rolling pin roll out the dough in the shape of a rectangle, more or less 35cm x 50cm (it should be the double of the size of your baking tin). Spread half of the focaccia dough with the pears and the cheese. Then fold it in half, the filling should be between two layers of dough, and lightly press the surface with your fingertips.

Grease the tin with a little olive oil and set the focaccia on it. Sprinkle the focaccia with coarse salt, dry rosemary and the extra virgin olive oil. Then cover the tin with a wet cloth and let it stand for one hour in a warm place.

Preheat the oven at 180° C and humidify putting in it an oven dish half full of water.

Take the cloth from the focaccia and, again, lightly press the surface with your fingertips. Put the focaccia in the oven. After 15 mins, take the bowl with water out of the oven and bake the focaccia for 15 more minutes.

When the focaccia is backed take it out from the oven and let it cool for 20/30 minutes. Serve it warm.

More ideas for the filling:
- dried tomatoes and cheddar cheese
- ham and fontina cheese
- grilled vegetables
- tuna and oregano
- etc etc, use your fantasy :-)

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