Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Cherry Rosemary Focaccia
When you think of the words "match made in heaven," what comes to mind? In the foodie sense, I think of chocolate and peanut butter, lemon and ginger, and raspberries and white chocolate. But, have you ever thought that those words could apply to cherries and rosemary? Up until now, I never even imagined of combining the two. That is, until that one fateful Sweets for a Saturday when Catalina of Catalina Bakes linked up her recipe for Cherry Rosemary Yogurt Mini Loaves. She absolutely raved about how well the two flavors complemented each other.
As it turns out, the idea to pair cherries and rosemary in sweets or baked goods wasn't a new one. Upon further search, here are some other recipes I found that use the same combo.
Cherry Rosemary Scones by Honey and Jam
Rosemary Chocolate Cherry Semifreddo by Profound Hatred of Meat
Cherry and Rosemary Shortbread Cookies by There's a Newf in My Soup
Sweet Cherry and Rosemary Biscuits by The Olive Press
Then, of course, there was the one recipe that caught my eye - Cherry Rosemary Focaccia. It was on Food Gal's site and it looked so wonderful that I knew I had to try this especially since I had never tried a sweet focaccia before. However, I didn't use her recipe. Instead, I used my go-to King Arthur Flour No-Fuss Focaccia recipe and topped it off with the cherries and rosemary as well as a little demerara sugar while it baked.
First of all, let me just say that this focaccia bread turns out absolutely beautiful. The dark red cherries stand out in contrast to the lighter background of the bread and make for one eye-catching loaf. Then, there's the taste. It is such a delicious thrill to bite into it with the juice from the sweet cherries exploding in your mouth and the rosemary there in the background melding perfectly with it. I'm so glad that I learned about this new flavor sensation.
This is now my new favorite focaccia. I can't wait to make it again, and again, and again.
Cherry Rosemary Focaccia (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
1 1/2 c. warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil (plus additional 1/2 Tbsp. for drizzling)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 1/2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. active-dry yeast
4 tsp. sugar
25-30 pitted dark cherries, halved
2 - 2 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 -1 Tbsp. demerara sugar (i.e. raw sugar) for sprinkling
Combine the warm water with the active dry yeast and the 4 tsp. sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5-10 min.
Add the flour and salt gradually to the yeast mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, until your dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl (the dough will be very soft).
Drizzle 2 Tbsp. olive oil into a 9x13 metal pan. Place the dough into the pan. Cover and let rise for 60 min., till it's become puffy. (Note: the risen dough will be super sticky so make sure that whatever you use to cover it will not touch the dough by the end of the hour or you can grease the plastic wrap) While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 375F. Gently poke the risen dough all over with your index finger. Drizzle it lightly with the remaining olive oil and arrange the cherries on top. Sprinkle with the dried rosemary. Bake the bread till it's golden brown, about 35-40 min. In the last 5 min., sprinkle with the demerara sugar. When bread is done baking, place it under the broiler for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. This will caramelize the sugar on top so that it sticks to the bread.