Truffled honey. Can I get a group OMG going? I hope so… that stuff could probably be under a list of controlled substances… I better use mine up before it does makes into the list. But back to the focaccia. I wanted to bake something for a departmental get-together, scheduled for a Thursday evening. Weather forecast for that week was high 90’s, low 100’s, so turning the oven at 450F seemed wrong on many levels. But the weekend before we got a little break with some rain and cooler temps, so I decided to get the baking out of the way as early as possible on Saturday, then freeze my production until showtime. I also wanted something a little different from the same old same old, and a grape focaccia came to mind. In Tuscany, it is called a Schiacciata con l’Uva, a name that beats grape focaccia into submission. I found a recipe at epicurious, but ended up winging it myself. Rebel is my middle name.
FOCACCIA WITH GRAPES, ROQUEFORT & TRUFFLED HONEY
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)
3/4 cup very warm water
1/8 cup milk, full-fat
1 teaspoons sugar
1 + 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil for dough plus more to spread
seedless black grapes
Roquefort cheese, crumbled
dried thyme to taste (or fresh)
Maldon salt flakes
truffled honey (or regular honey)
In the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer stir the warm water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Add the flour, salt and Add the flour, salt olive oil (2 tablespoons) to the bowl, then knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead it by hand briefly, a minute or so longer.
Place the dough inside an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 90 minutes. It will more than double, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Brush a half-sheet baking pan with olive oil, transfer the risen dough into it, and allow it to rest for a few minutes to relax the gluten. Add olive oil on top (about 3 tablespoons) and spread the dough to cover the baking sheet. Cover it again and let it sit for 45 minutes at room temperature. While the focaccia is in its second rise, turn the oven to 450F.
Top the dough with grapes sliced in half, the crumbled Roquefort cheese, thyme, add coarse salt all over, then drizzle the surface with a little truffled honey. Do not add too much, as the flavor is very potent.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. If the top is getting too dark, reduce the temperature to 425 F after 10 minutes.
Cool it on a rack before slicing in squares.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Before anyone criticizes me for taking liberties with the thickness of the schiacciata, let me state upfront that I like my focaccia to be thick and pillowy. If you want to stick to tradition, stretch the dough to the extension of a full baking sheet instead of half. It will then be thinner and crispy. The combination of grapes with blue cheese is a classic, but when truffled honey was added to it, I’d say I hit that one out of the park. And I don’t even like baseball! One word of caution, the stuff is potent. When you open the bottle, the intensity of the truffle smell will surprise you. Use it sparingly or it will overpower every other flavor in the focaccia. Of course, if you don’t have truffled honey, use a regular honey instead. Maybe you own a bottle of truffle oil? In that case, put a small amount of it to use, maybe mix a few drops with regular honey… I suppose that could work well too.
Grab a piece or four… and be happy!
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