Focaccia, once the food of peasants, is simply a bit of leavened dough flavored with fresh herbs, olive oil, sea salt and whatever your imagination can afford.
Seasonal ingredients can turn this rustic bread into a delicious edible plate, making eating out of hand the preferred utensil.
They have become quite popular in the states on restaurant and bar menu’s. Focacce (plural) are usually savory (rosemary focaccia) but there are sweet ones as well, making them a delightful breakfast bread. You might also enjoy Crostata de Pesce or, a Caramelized onion and Fig Crostata.
Both the anise and grape and anise and pear focaccia (see image below) are the perfect match with a glass of wine. I prefer the almond focaccia with a coffee.
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg plus, 1 egg separated
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 cup red seedless grapes cut in half, lengthwise
In a large bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Place in a warm spot until the yeast has dissolved and is frothy.
Add the egg and egg yolk, 2 tablespoons of the oil, stir to combine. Mix in the flour to form a soft dough.
On a lightly floured board, knead the dough until smooth.
Transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover, let rest until doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl, put on floured board. You could make one large focaccia or divide dough in half for two or make several individual loaves. I divided the dough into four pieces because I wanted to try different toppings, it’s easier for me to work with and I can fit four focacce on two sheet pans.
Using your hands (or a rolling pin), form each piece into a rectangle.
In a small bow, whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each rectangle lightly.
Sprinkle evenly with anise seed and salt. Place grape halves on top, pressing in slightly. (I ran out of grapes, used pears).
Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and the other tablespoon of sugar.
Set aside to allow the dough to rise (20 minutes).
I had on hand a little almond paste, so I crumbled it on the dough, then sprinkled with toasted sliced almonds and the other tablespoon of sugar. I left off the anise seed and salt and didn’t drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in a 350*oven 12-15 minutes.
Turned out great!
Every one of my tasters had a different favorite, those having a glass of wine thought it paired well with the anise and fruit combination and the coffee drinkers finished off the almond.
Which focaccia you make is up to you or come up with your own version, either way focaccia always make a delicious and affordable snack.