Saturday, 4 September 2010

A Whole-wheat seasonal fruit and blue cheese focaccia for a New Year

This week are the Jewish New Year celebrations, that’s code for “everyone is busy cooking and buying gifts". Its the closest we get to a Christmas, and big on the night are east European Diaspora specialties such as the gefilte fish, as well as symbolic foods like honey (wishes for a sweet year), pomegranate (plenty like the grains in a pomegranate) and the head of an animal (as opposed to the ‘tail’).

I already have gifts, (local and seasonal calendars I designed with Inbal , together we are NANA studio), so in keeping with the spirit I am posting a whole-wheat seasonal fruit and blue cheese focaccia that, I feel, embodies my wishes for the coming year combining sweet, sour, and savoury into a harmonious one, crunchy yet moist, with a wholesome and satisfying carb topped with a sharp, ripe Gorgonzola dolce. What more can one want?

Like this focaccia, may this be a year of plenty.

Whole-wheat seasonal fruit and blue cheese focaccia

(makes 1 focaccia)


1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp instant dry yeast or little less then 20 gr fresh yeast

1 tsp fine sea salt

1 ¼ cups luke warm water

¼ cup fine olive oil +3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

100 gr Gorgonzola dolce cheese, or any other blue cheese you prefer

Seasonal fruit (such as figs, grapes, mangos, plums, apricots), washed and sliced.

2-3 Tbs sliced slivered almonds

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly crushed peppercorns, to taste

Rosemary sprigs, separated to leaves

2-3 tbs honey

In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast and salt.

Make a well in the centre and add the water and olive oil.

Stir to make a soft dough, adding more water as needed and knead for 8-10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and transfer to an oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap.

Let stand in a warm place about 1½ hours, until doubled.

Roll the dough out to a rectangle of about 25 × 40cm.

Brush 1½ tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil over half of the dough. Brush water around the edges of the other half and fold the dough in half, to make a rectangle of about 25 × 20cm.

Transfer to a large baking sheet and press the dough with your knuckles to dimple the surface.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let stand for about 30–40 minutes, until puffy.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Drizzle the remaining 1½ tbsp olive oil over the dough, letting it pool in the dimpled dough.

Scatter the fruit slices and crumble the cheese over the focaccia.

Sprinkle the almond slices and season with the salt and pepper.

Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until risen and golden.

Remove the focaccia from the oven, scatter the rosemary sprigs and drizzle the honey.

Slide onto a rack to cool and serve at room temperature

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