Spring is in the air and popping out of the ground!
This past weekend we enjoyed +11°C and it seems that the vegetation also enjoyed the warming temperatures! This lovely little hyacinth decided it had enough with winter and popped right up! There is still about ten inches of snow beside it but we’re hoping it will melt in the next few days.
Some time ago, my dear friend Charles (remember when we met in Paris last year?) made this wonderful Caramelized Onion Fakaccia and it got me thinking about the last time I made Focaccia in June 2012! Suffice it to say, we’ve gone long enough without this wonderfully flavourful Italian bread. Thank you Charles, again for the inspiration.
This is a recipe I diligently copied down in nineties in my late twenties from one of the first food shows I really got into: Biba’s Italian Kitchen. She had such a lovely accent and demeanor and I was instantly smitten with the show. I have been making this focaccia bread since then and it’s always been delicious. Today I share the same recipe but adding Charle’s beautiful inspiration for the caramelized onion. Once again, a hideous night-time photo but don’t let that fool you, it’s delicious!
The onion caramelizes further in baking the focaccia
Sweet Onion Confit Focaccia
Adapted from Biba’s Trattoria Cooking and Charles’ Five Euro Food Fakaccia
Makes one 12″ x 18″ sheet of focaccia
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp quick rising dry yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- Prepare the sponge by mixing the flour and yeast water together and knead for 3-4 minutes by machine. You want the sponge a lot softer and stickier than a normal bread dough.
- Allow to rise in a bowl wrapped tightly with plastic wrap for 2-3 hours (I proofed my sponge in the fridge overnight, cover lightly in olive oil).
Focaccia Ingredients second rising:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 1/2 tsp quick rising dry yeast dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup sweet onion confit, please click here for the recipe
- 3 tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil(, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 tsp salt
- If you have proofed your sponge in the fridge like I did, you will need to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the second rising in your mixing bowl with a dough hook attachment. Add the sponge and kneed energetically for about 5-7 minutes. After kneading, the dough should be smooth and pliable.
- Cover with a light drizzle of olive oil and tightly wrapped plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 450°F for 30 minutes before baking. Lightly oil a 10″ x 14″ cookie sheet and roll out the foccacia until it is about 1/2″ thick or to the edges. Dimple with your fingers. Spread the sweet onion confit over the entire surface. Bake until focaccia is golden in colour.
- Serve warm with your best EVOO and balsamic vinegar.
- Base for quick pizza.
- Sandwich bread.
- Croutons for soup.
- Croutons for stuffing.
- Vehicle for dips.
Read Full Post »
The long weekend a few weeks ago proved to be as beautiful as the weatherman promised, if not more so. Other than the bites from the black flies and mosquitos, it was darn near perfect. High 20°C during the day, and cool enough to sleep in without having to turn on the heat. Perfect I say!
You may recall that I posted Sawsan’s recipe a while ago for feta and basil flat bread, but frankly my omission of the olive oil did not do it justice, at all. I had frozen about half the dough waiting on a perfect opportunity to try it again (the olive oil was to be added when rolling out the flat bread, so I was good to go!).
You see how flaky the flat breads became with the olive oil? We cooked them on a well oiled griddle on the BBQ because it was too hot to turn on the oven.
The long weekend presented the perfect time because we were in need of hors d’œuvres for cocktails; this time I did not skimp on the olive oil. Sawsan, I MUST say it was marvelous! JT said the BEST he has had. I had a hard time not sampling them (I did try a couple, OK, maybe a few, but that’s IT!). We shared them with JT’s sister (known as Sid) and husband and the Ceement Boy (nephew Brian — I’ll get into that story sometime soon). We had polished most of it off when Ceement Boy dropped his wine glass onto the side of the dish and it broke into smithereens! He was trying to keep up with me as I broke a wine glass the night before! The cheddar dip can be found here.
The flat bread could have been even better had I made my own feta, like John (from the Bartolini Kitchens) did here.
I will definitely make this lovely and tasty hors d’œuvres again
Read Full Post »
Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Cheese, tagged Appetizer, Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvres, cheese, delicious, feta, Flat bread, fresh basil, Vegetarian on April 24, 2012 |
42 Comments »
As you may have noticed, I am often swayed by the recipes of my blogging friends. And this time is no different, because I fell for Sawsan of Chef in Disguise’s Fteer falahi (Cheese and anise flat bread). I had feta at home and fresh basil, so I thought I would use them (plus JT is not a huge anise fan). I had a little extra pot of the Titanic Pâté for our Sunday dinner with nephew Brian and the flat bread went very well with it.
These flat breads are soft but firm enough to hold a heavier spread, like the Titanic Pâté. Cheers!
I made only half the recipe Sawsan made because we are not huge bread eaters, and it made a lot of dough, so I froze half as raw dough and will be using it in the future. I liked the over all texture, but I did make a mistake, I didn’t brush it with oil at every fold (trying to keep the calories down). It turned out a little harder and not as chewy as I had hoped, but the flavour was certainly there. When I make the frozen batch, I will be certain to use the oil that Sawsan’s recipe recommended. As well, Sawsan recommended that I leave my dough a little thicker so it’s chewier. I can see this recipe being used for many a dips in the near future. Thank you Sawsan, you have inspired me yet again.
Makes 2 12″ flat bread squares
- 0.5 kg all purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (I left this as the full recipe, JT said my bread was not salty enough!)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups of sheeps milk feta cut into small 1 cm cubes
- 1/4 cup of chiffonade of basil
- In a 1/8 cup of warm water dissolve the yeast and sugar (make sure your yeast is alive!)
- Sift the flour and salt into your large stand mixer bowl, add the yeast/water mixture and start kneading adding water gradually till you get a soft sticky dough consistency (I added a little over 1 cup of water but the amount varies with the type of flour)
- Machine knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, allow to rest , covered in a warm place for half an hour (I kneaded 7 minutes).
- Preheat your oven to 270°C or the highest temperature it will go.
- Gently combine the vegetable oil and olive oil and keep it next to your working area.
- Wet your hands with a little oil and cut the dough into 4 balls , brush each ball in the oil mixture and allow to rest for another 10-15 minutes. (don’t skimp on the oil)
- Brush your working surface with a little oil, start with the first dough ball you cut and spread it into a circle roughly 25 cm or 10 inches in diameter. Sawsan has some great photos on how to fold the dough, please visit her post here.
- Spread your filling onto the pressed dough and begin folding, much like a croissant dough, folding the left third over the centre, then the right over the centre, then the bottom fold up one third and finally fold the top down one third. You should have a nice folded smallish square. Allow this one to rest while you start working on the next one.
- When you have finished all of the dough balls, go back to the first square and brush it with oil and spread it into a larger square using a rolling-pin or your hands. Then do the same with the rest.
- I like using my cast iron pizza pan for this type of bread and I always pre heat it. using a rolling pin, roll up the dough and carefully roll out to the heated pizza pan. Drizzle more oil on it.
- Bake on the middle rack of your oven. Sawsan cautions to watch it carefully as it will burn very quickly.
Thanks again, Sawsan, this one will have a repeat performance in our repertoire, it is indeed a very easy flat bread to make. Next time, I shall substitute some of the white flour for whole wheat, just because
Read Full Post »