(version updated on Dec 28th, to correct a mistake in the recipe)

This past week I got a very special gift: a jar of homemade chili jam, made by my stepson’s girlfriend Carly, a gorgeous actress, who is also smart, witty, and a great cook.  Yeah, some people have it all!   😉 She made the jam by adapting a basic recipe from Nigella Lawson, that you can find here.  It is very flavorful, and looks quite dramatic as you hold the jar against the light revealing red speckles dispersed throughout the jam.  I wanted to make something special with it, and my first “experiment” turned it into topping for a sourdough focaccia.   A successful experiment all the way!

(adapted from Chilli and Chocolate)

for the sourdough sponge:
195 g liquid starter (3/4 cup at about 100% hydration)
125 g warm water (1/2 cup)
25 g olive oil (2 T)
10 g honey (1 + 1/2 tsp)
50 g flour (1/2 cup)

for the final dough:
all the sponge made as described
50 g olive oil (1/4 cup)
200 g all purpose flour (2 cups)
1 tsp sea salt

to bake the focaccia:
4 T olive oil
herbs of your choice, minced
2 T chili jam, preferably homemade
coarse or flake salt

Mix all the ingredients for the sponge in a medium size bowl, cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until the surface is covered with small bubbles.

Add the ingredients for the final dough and mix until they form a shaggy mass. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then knead quickly folding the dough on itself 10 times (no need to remove from the bowl). Let the dough rest 15 minutes, and repeat this quick kneading process. Repeat for a total of 4 cycles of kneading, each with 15 minutes rest.  Shape the dough into a smooth ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, and let it rise until almost doubled (1.5 to 2 hours).

Alternatively, place it in the fridge overnight, transferring to room temperature 2 hours before baking.

Cover a 9 x 13 baking sheet with parchment paper, and add 2 T olive oil to the paper, spreading it well.  Put the dough in the pan and press gently until it covers the whole surface.   If the dough is resisting your attempts to stretch it, wait for 5 minutes until the gluten relaxes, and do it again.  Cover lightly and let it rise for 30 minutes, while you heat the oven to 450F.

Using the tip of your fingers, make indentations all over the dough, spread the remaining 2 T of olive oil all over, sprinkle herbs of your choice on half the focaccia.  If your chili jam is too thick, thin it slightly with a little olive oil, and spread on the other half of the focaccia.   Add salt all over the dough, and bake until golden brown on top, about 25 minutes.   If the jam seems to be burning,
reduce the temperature slightly.

Let it cool over a rack before you slice it in squares, and…


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I’ve blogged before about my favorite  focaccia, very quick to put together. This version,  leavened exclusively with wild yeast, takes longer to prepare, but the flavor is exactly what I was hoping for to go along with the chili jam.   I had a few unexpected commitments during the preparation, so the dough went to the fridge overnight,  no harm done.  The focaccia, even baked in our small electric oven, turned out delicious!    The chili jam (thank you, Carly!) is hot, but not overly so, and the contrast of the slight sourness of the bread with the sweet heat of the jam made this simple focaccia quite addictive.  Make sure to add salt on top right before baking, it will intensify all flavors.

By the way,  chili and chilli are both accepted spellings for the word.   Pick your favorite spelling, but whatever you choose, make this focaccia, it’s a winner!

I am submitting this post to Susan’s  Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO: Merry Christmas!


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