Traditional focaccia is anything but sweet, usually rich with olive oil and topped with herbs. This one is rich, slightly sweet, and topped with fruit and other sweet delights. If you do it right, and luckily this is an easy dough to get right, this will be the most luscious dough you’ve ever handled. And it tastes great when done, too.
To start the dough, put the following in a large bowl, stir and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
- 1 cup hot water (half boiling, half cold – not too hot or you’ll kill the yeast)
- 3 1/2 tsp live yeast
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/2 c flour
Add in the following:
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c softened butter or butter substitute (I use Earth Balance)
- 2-2 1/4 c flour (add by the half cupful till you’ve got the right texture)
Knead the dough in the bowl until it is uniformly smooth. It should not be sticky at all, add flour slowly so it doesn’t end up being too stiff. Put a small amount of a neutral oil (like sunflower or safflower) in the bowl, turn the dough over so it is coated. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside to rise. After about an hour, knead the dough another 5 minutes, cover again and let it rise again. Repeat this at least 3-4 hours.
To top the dough and bake it:
- butter or butter substitute to grease pan and brush onto focaccia
- (2 fresh pears, peeled and diced) or
- (4 fresh plums, peeled and diced) or
- (2 small apples peeled and diced)
- (almond paste) or
- (steusel [equal parts butter or butter substitute, sugar, and flour made into crumbs]) or
- (ground almonds mixed with brown sugar)
Butter a large cookie sheet then shape dough onto sheet. Brush with melted butter then top with fruit and whichever other topping you are using. Brush again with butter. You can sprinkle with baking sugar, if you want, but it isn’t necessary. Allow to rise again for half an hour then bake at 350° F until it starts to brown around the edges and top. Remove from oven, cool, eat. Enjoy.