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Friday, August 10, 2012

Cherry-Almond Focaccia

 I think we're all relieved to see I finally learned how to spell focaccia.  I also know how to make it, several kinds, thanks to this recipe.  And I definitely know what to do with it. 

This was one of my babies at Dessert Club - Summer Fruits.  I fell in love with this recipe from the first time I saw its dappled close-up on the pages of Bon Appétit.  Sweet butter dough, dark juicy cherries, crunchy turbinado sugar - laaaa!  It called to me.  Then when I read it closer, and saw that you boil the cherry juice down to a thick concentrated syrup that you drizzle over the dough so it pools in all the delicious valleys, I was totally, totally sold.  Sign me up, when do I start?

I actually started immediately, or as soon as I got over to Trader Joe's for some Morello cherries.  I should have gotten some sliced almonds, too, because when I got home I realized I only had slivered.  But I wasn't waiting one more minute to make this, so I just used what I had.  Not a big deal; they just provided a little more crunch than may have been intended.  But the combination of pastry bread, cherry, and almond was a home run on my palate.  Loved it!

I got sliced when I made it again for DC; the difference is delicate.  Again, I loved it.  Kinda sorta cheating on Summer Fruits night because I used jarred cherries - you have to because you need the juice - , but I was dying to share this culinary treasure with my peeps!  Plus it makes a big pan so it's one of those need-an-occasion-to-share breads.  With the bonus of you can eat the leftovers for brekkie.  I'm trying to think when would be good to make this next - maybe Thanksgiving breakfast - something light but indulgent to nosh on all morning?  Mmm, I'm thinking, I'm drooling.
 Cherry-Almond Focaccia (print recipe)
Makes 16 servings

2/3 cup whole milk
5 T sugar, divided
1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 T melted
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cups drained pitted tart cherries in light syrup (such as Morello), plus 1 cup syrup (from a 24-28 oz. jar)
3 T sugar
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup raw sugar

1.  Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometers registers 110-115F degrees.  Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 T sugar.  Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend.  Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs; whisk until smooth.

2.  Combine remaining 4 T sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook.  Add milk mixture.  With mixture running, add 1/2 cup room temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions.  Mix on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes. 

3.  Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray; place dough in bowl.  Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours. 

4.  Punch down dough.  Coat a large rimmed baking sheet (about 16x12") with 1 T oil.  Press dough evenly into pan, leaving a 1 1/2" border.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel; let rise in a warm, draft-free area until puffed but not doubled in size, 45-50 minutes.

5.  Meanwhile, bring cherry syrup and 3 T granulated sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced to 1/3 cup, 10-12 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl; let cool completely.  This stuff is delicious and makes the whole dish, in my opinion!

6.  Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400F degrees.  Using your fingertips, press dimples all over dough surface.  Drizzle dough with remaining 2 T oil.  Scatter cherries over, pressing them gently into dough.  Drizzle reduced syrup over, allowing it to pool into nooks and crannies.  Sprinkle almonds over, then raw sugar.  Let rise until dough is doubled in size, 15-20 minutes.

7.  Bake until focaccia is golden brown, 20-23 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 
Recipe from Bon Appetit, April 2012

1 comment:

Lysa Humildad said...

sounds delicious! I can't wait to try it!

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