A few weeks ago, I was in the kitchen with my friend Nancy making fig jam. The purple Mission figs that arrive in Minnesota from California are only here for a few weeks in late summer. We had so many figs that day that I thought it would be fun to make fresh fig focaccia for our lunch. The result was delicious!
I think the taste of the fresh figs are really unique, but if you can't source fresh figs, dried figs would also work great. It's a sweet and savory result that pairs beautifully with the fontina cheese and walnuts. I added fresh lemon zest, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a drizzle of local wildflower honey to bring all of the tastes together. This would be good sipping on an ice-cold glass of Rose (just saying).
Give this focaccia a try and let me know what you think. I hope your fall is lovely and that you are all staying safe and well.
Fig, Fontina, and Walnut Focaccia
3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
· In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
· Next place the warm (not too hot) water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast, followed by the sugar or honey.
· Let this sit for 5-7 minutes (or longer if needed) to allow the yeast to bloom.
· Add the olive oil to the water, yeast, sugar mixture and then mix into the flour with a spoon. You can also use a mixer with a hook attachment, but I keep it simple and stir for 5 minutes with a spoon. The dough should be a bit wet, so keep adding water if the dough seems dry.
· Cover the bowl with a cover or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 2-3 hours until it doubles in size.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
· Next, place the dough in an oiled round or rectangular baking pan.
· Sprinkle the top with a light coating of flour so that the dough does not stick to your hands. Form into the shape and size you want with your fingers.
· Let sit for another 30 minutes.
4-5 ripe figs (or 8 dried figs) – slice the figs in quarters
1 lemon (zested)
8 ounces fontina cheese (grate using a box grater on the large size)
Fresh or dried thyme
4 ounces walnuts (chopped)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Honey (drizzle over focaccia prior to serving)
To assemble the focaccia
· Place the fontina cheese over the focaccia dough covering the entire surface.
· Next, add the sliced figs over the cheese.
· Distribute the lemon zest over the toppings.
· Add the chopped walnuts.
· Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh or dried thyme (to taste).
· Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the top.
· Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until bottom crust is crisp and the top is golden brown.
· Drizzle with honey before serving.