The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Monday, 16 July 2012

Cherries Part II: sweet focaccia

As I promised in my previous post, I want to share with you this very simple recipe that uses the many cherries - if you have been lucky to have an abundant harvest (or have a generous friend) - you might have in your hands (literally, considering how messy they can be!).


Focaccia is something you find everywhere in Italy; however, it has different names according to the regions, and even according to towns within the same region as for example in Siena we call it "ciaccino" - probably from "ciacciare", to touch, as it is handle a number of times especially to flat it down  or from "ciaccia", a slap considering the use of your palm to spread the dough onto the try. But if you move down the coast just a few  hundred miles away the same delicacy is called "schiacciata", squashed.

No matter how it is called, there is nothing better than to bury your teeth into this old time favourite which is crunchy and fluffy at the same time.

Focaccia is normally savoury but sweet variations are not uncommon. You could have a focaccia for every season, using for instance grapes in the Autumn. I remember entering one of those cozy bakeries in the centre of Siena where the steam wrapped you like a blanket and point at a slice of ciaccino dolce to snack on. I always managed to get one!


Sweet Cherry Focaccia

300g "00" Flour
150ml luke warm water
1 sachet of dry yeast or 15g fresh yeast
2-3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp demerara sugar
3 handful of destoned cherries

Destone the cherries as per previous post using a knife to avoid too much a horror film effect.

Warm the water up - the test is your wrist, if you touch it without "ouching" then it's at the right temperature (if it is too warm the yeast loses its properties, if too cold it doesn't get activated).

Make a well with the flour, mix the dry yeast or melt the fresh yeast in the water. Add the sugar to the flour and pour the water. Mix with a knife first and then use your hand to knead the mix. When it is smooth and elastic and if gently pressed with your index finger the dough springs back tidy it into a ball, make a cross with a knife and cover with a cloth for at least an hour in a warm place.

When the dough is ready, handle it to give it the focaccia shape and using your fingers make enough holes for how many cherries you want to insert. Place a cherry in each hole and then sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Cook in the oven at 200C for 20 minutes or until the sugar has turned gold.

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