Pickled beetroot

homemade pickled beetroot

There are two types of Australians. Those that will tell you that a burger is not complete without a slice or two of pickled beetroot on it, and… the other lot. Guess which group I fall into ;)

Here is Switzerland, we can get sliced beetroot in a jar from one of the supermarket chains, but it isn’t quite right. Not to mention the fact that they seem to use the smallest beets they can get, so the little bits fall off your burger and make a mess. Time to make my own, adapted from this recipe. All natural ingredients, just the right balance of tanginess to sweetness – we’re all set for summer!

Makes 3 jars, each 500ml (about 2 cups)
You’ll want wide-mouth jars so you can keep your slices nice and big.
I sterilised my jars by boiling them for 10 minutes, then air-drying on paper towel.

Ingredients

3 large beetroots, about 1.5kg or 3.5lb
400ml (1 2/3 cups) apple cider vinegar
400ml (1 2/3 cups) water
240g (1 1/2 cups, lightly packed) brown sugar
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp fine salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Trim and peel the beetroots and wrap tightly in foil. Place on a small baking tray and roast in centre of oven for and an hour and a half, until tender when pierced with a skewer. Set aside to cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, peppercorns, cloves and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

Slice the beetroot and pack tightly into dry, sterilised jars.

Use a ladle to cover the beetroot with the vinegar mixture, then seal the jars.

Store in a cool, dark place for up to a month. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within a week.

Posted in burgers&patties, preserves, salad | 2 Comments

VEGAN macarons!

I kid you not!

And the best part is that they are made with a simple, cheap, easy to find ingredient. No expensive specialty products or trips to the healthfood store required.

vegan macarons

I stumbled across this recipe for eggless vegan meringue made with the liquid from a can of chickpeas instead of egg whites, and immediately my mind went to macarons… because it frequently goes there, in case you hadn’t noticed ;)

I am kinda married to the Italian meringue method for macaron making, so I thought I’d experiment with that, then would play around with the French meringue version if that failed. But it didn’t fail. Not by a long shot! The structure is just perfect – crisp shell and chewy interior, little feet, domed tops. Everything you want in a macaron, but without the eggs :)

I had absolutely no idea that the liquid from a can of chickpeas could whip up this this!

 photo vegan_macs_beaten_zpsl7htz6jh.jpg

As for the flavour, you can’t taste the chickpea liquid at all behind the vanilla, almonds and sugar. It’s amazing!

I do wonder if this would work as well if you soak your own chickpeas – I don’t know whether it’s something in the chickpeas themselves that causes this, but I suspect so… if anyone tries it with liquid from chickpeas you have soaked yourself, I’d love to hear about your results!

Makes 30 filled macarons
I used a little over half the liquid from a 400g (14oz) can
Preparation about 30 minutes
Resting about 20 minutes
Baking 18 minutes per batch
Cooling about an hour
Filling 5 minutes, if using jam or any other premade filling

Ingredients

140g ground almonds
140g powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
100g (8 Tbsp) chickpea canning liquid, room temperature, divided 50/50
1 tsp vanilla paste
100g granulated (white) sugar
40g water

Directions

Prepare 2 parchment lined baking sheets.

Mix the ground almonds and powdered sugar together then grind in a food processor until you have an extra fine texture.

Sift into a large bowl, re-grinding any bigger pieces of almond.

Add 50g chickpea canning liquid and the teaspoon of vanilla paste to the almond mixture and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

In another bowl using an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the other 50g chickpea canning liquid. It should at least triple in volume and whip to medium-firm peaks. It will take a lot longer than egg whites to whip up, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the granulated sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat on medium-low to 118°C (244°F).

While whisking constantly on low speed (to avoid splashing hot syrup), slowly add the cooked sugar mixture to the beaten chickpea canning liquid, pouring it down the inside edge of the bowl. Whisk at high speed until the mixture is cool, about 3 minutes. The mixture should become firm and shiny and you should get a beak when you lift the whisk.

Scrape the meringue onto the almond mixture and incorporate with a rubber or silicone spatula until you have a homogenous batter that runs from the spatula in a thick ribbon. It will not take nearly as long to mix as an egg meringue, so be very careful not to overmix it.

Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 7 – 9mm plain tip (this is best done in two batches, so you don’t overfill the bag). Pipe 60 equally sized rounds, about 4cm, in staggered rows onto the prepared sheets. Hold the piping bag upright with the tip just above the sheet and pipe without pulling upwards or swirling in circles, so the batter comes out in a round blob around the tip, and give a little sideways flick at the end to break the stream.

Tap the baking sheet firmly on the bench several times to release air bubbles and obtain a smooth surface. Leave the tray to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes until a slight skin forms.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).

Bake the macarons for 18 minutes, one sheet at a time, turning the sheet half-way.

Remove from oven, remove the parchment from the tray with the shells still on it, and place on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes, until completely cool, then remove macaron shells carefully from the parchment.

Fill as desired (I used strawberry jam), then store in an airtight container in the fridge to mature for at least 24 hours before eating.

Posted in biscuit, cookie, dessert, macaron, snack, sweet, vegan | 6 Comments

Turkish Delight

I was honoured to host the Daring Cooks challenge for May and I chose Turkish Delight!

Turkish Delight

One of the things I love about making Turkish Delight is that it makes a wonderful gift that can be personalised especially for the recipient. Most people think of the traditional, pink, rose-scented sweet when they think of Turkish Delight, but I’m here to tell you, the sky is the limit! So in addition to traditional rose-scented Turkish Delight, I’m also going to introduce you to two of my own concoctions, Vanilla Cranberry Almond Delight and Chocolate Delight.

This recipe was adapted from two sites, here and here.

I reduced the original recipes to make smaller batches – go ahead and double it for larger batches. The serving size for these recipes says “36 or more pieces” because it depends on the setting container and how big you cut them. Anywhere up to an inch cube is a good start, but it is your choice. Start by considering a pan of approximately 15 x 15cm (6 x 6”) for 36 x 1” (2½ cm) cubes, and go from there. I used a 14cm x 21cm (5-1/2 x 8-1/4”) plastic container for this batch (I cut 60 pieces), so it’s quite flexible. You can even pour it onto a silicon mat, spread it out to the desired thickness and cut it into shapes with small cookie cutters.

Like most candy making, Turkish Delight is not difficult and you don’t need super fast reflexes, but timing is important so be sure to read through the recipe to familiarise yourself with all the stages before you get started. I would strongly recommend using a candy thermometer for making Turkish Delight, but if you don’t have one, you can test it by using a teaspoon to drop a little syrup in to a glass of cold water and it should form hard threads.

Preparation time: About an hour active time, and 6 – 8 hours or overnight to set. The longer you allow it to set, the longer it will keep without sweating. When covering, it should be very loose, just to keep dust etc out.

Traditional rose-scented Turkish Delight

Ingredients

400G (2 cups) granulated (white) sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
540 ml (2 1/4 cups) cold water, divided
80g (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
approximately 2 teaspoons rosewater
optional – a few drops pink gel or pinch pink powder food colouring

powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting and packing

Directions

Place the granulated sugar, lemon juice and 180ml (3/4 cup) of the water in a medium heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat (there’s no need to stir). Heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium, bring the mixture to a boil and insert a candy thermometer.

Allow the sugar mixture to continue boiling over low heat, without stirring, until it reaches 127°C (260°F) – hard ball stage – on the candy thermometer. This will take 10 – 15 minutes, depending on how high you have the heat.

 photo turkish_delight_02_zpsu2imgxff.jpg

Meanwhile, place the remaining 360ml (1-1/2 cups) of water in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Add the cornstarch and cream of tartar and whisk until the cornstarch dissolves completely.

When the sugar syrup is around 118°C (245°F), place the saucepan with the cornstarch mixture over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. The mixture will become thick and pasty.

 photo turkish_delight_04_zpscykrjylv.jpg

Once the sugar syrup is at 127°C (260°F), remove it from the heat. Very slowly and carefully pour it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly until it is fully combined.

 photo turkish_delight_05_zpsdpzu9h3k.jpg

Reduce the heat to minimum and let it cook gently, whisking it every 5 minutes or so, for about 40 minutes, until the mixture has turned a light golden-yellow colour and is very thick and gluey. Be careful not to let it scorch – use a heat dispersal mat, if necessary.

 photo turkish_delight_06_zps8qry3wsh.jpg

Meanwhile, prepare a setting container (see notes) by lining with plastic wrap with plenty of overhang, and lightly coat with vegetable oil or non-stick spray.

 photo turkish_delight_07_zpsn0vpmphv.jpg

Remove mixture from the heat and whisk in the food colouring (if using) and the rosewater. Pour into the setting container and spread with a silicon spatula and allow it to cool. Once completely cooled, loosely fold the plastic overhang over the top and let it set at room temperature for 6 – 8 hours or overnight.

 photo turkish_delight_08_zpsfrsncnzd.jpg

If you are coating it in chocolate, jump to the recipe below before proceeding. Otherwise, continue…

Turn out of pan onto a board dusted with powdered sugar, remove the plastic wrap and dust the top with powdered sugar, then cut into pieces with a large, lightly oiled sharp knife. Dust the pieces with powdered sugar and pack in an airtight container in more powdered sugar.

 photo turkish_delight_09_zpsvvvk9uf9.jpg

 

Vanilla cranberry almond delight

Ingredients

400G (2 cups) granulated (white) sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
540 ml (2 1/4 cups) cold water, divided
80g (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75g (2/3 cup) dried cranberries
30g (1/3 cup) sliced (flaked) almonds

powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting and packing

Directions

Place the granulated sugar, lemon juice and 180ml (3/4 cup) of the water in a medium heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat (there’s no need to stir). Heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium, bring the mixture to a boil and insert a candy thermometer.

Allow the sugar mixture to continue boiling over low heat, without stirring, until it reaches 127°C (260°F) – hard ball stage – on the candy thermometer. This will take 10 – 15 minutes, depending on how high you have the heat.

Meanwhile, place the remaining 360ml (1-1/2 cups) of water in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Add the cornstarch and cream of tartar and whisk until the cornstarch dissolves completely.

When the sugar syrup is around 118°C (245°F), place the saucepan with the cornstarch mixture over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. The mixture will become thick and pasty.

Once the sugar syrup is at 127°C (260°F), remove it from the heat. Very slowly and carefully pour it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly until it is fully combined.

Reduce the heat to minimum and let it cook gently, whisking it every 5 minutes or so, for about 40 minutes, until the mixture has turned a light golden-yellow colour and is very thick and gluey. Be careful not to let it scorch – use a heat dispersal mat, if necessary.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the almonds by tossing continuously in a dry skillet over low heat for about 5 minutes, just until pale golden.

Prepare a setting container (see notes above) by lining with plastic wrap with plenty of overhang, and lightly coat with vegetable oil or non-stick spray.

Remove mixture from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract, cranberries and almonds. Pour into the setting container and spread with a silicon spatula and allow it to cool. Once completely cooled, loosely fold the plastic overhang over the top and let it set at room temperature for 6 – 8 hours or overnight.

If you are coating it in chocolate, jump to the recipe below before proceeding. Otherwise, continue…

Turn out of pan onto a board dusted with powdered sugar, remove the plastic wrap and dust the top with powdered sugar, then cut into pieces with a large, lightly oiled sharp knife. Dust the pieces with powdered sugar and pack in an airtight container in more powdered sugar.

 

Chocolate Delight

Ingredients

400G (2 cups) granulated (white) sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
540 ml (2 1/4 cups) cold water, divided
80g (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
20g (3 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting and packing

Directions

Place the granulated sugar, lemon juice and 180ml (3/4 cup) of the water in a medium heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat (there’s no need to stir). Heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium, bring the mixture to a boil and insert a candy thermometer.

Allow the sugar mixture to continue boiling over low heat, without stirring, until it reaches 127°C (260°F) – hard ball stage – on the candy thermometer. This will take 10 – 15 minutes, depending on how high you have the heat.

Meanwhile, place the remaining 360ml (1 1/2 cups) of water in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Add the cornstarch, cream of tartar and cocoa and whisk until the cornstarch dissolves completely.

When the sugar syrup is around 118°C (245°F), place the saucepan with the cornstarch mixture over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. The mixture will become thick and pasty.

Once the sugar syrup is at 127°C (260°F), remove it from the heat. Very slowly and carefully pour it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly until it is fully combined.

Reduce the heat to minimum and let it cook gently, whisking it every 5 minutes or so, for about 40 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and gluey. Be careful not to let it scorch – use a heat dispersal mat, if necessary.

Meanwhile, prepare a setting container (see notes above) by lining with plastic wrap with plenty of overhang, and lightly coat with vegetable oil or non-stick spray.

Remove mixture from the heat, whisk in the vanilla extract, pour into the setting container and spread with a silicon spatula and allow it to cool. Once completely cooled, loosely fold the plastic overhang over the top and let it set at room temperature for 6 – 8 hours or overnight.

If you are coating it in chocolate, see the recipe below before proceeding. Otherwise, continue…

Turn out of pan onto a board dusted with powdered sugar or cocoa, remove the plastic wrap and dust the top with powdered sugar, then cut into pieces with a large, lightly oiled sharp knife. Dust the pieces with powdered sugar and pack in an airtight container in more powdered sugar or cocoa.

Tempered chocolate for coating

tempered chocolate

Servings: makes enough for one batch of Turkish Delight
Preparation time: about 1 hour
Setting time: about 30 minutes

Note: You can just dip the pieces in melted chocolate, but you get more aesthetically pleasing results if you temper it.

Ingredients

250g (9 oz) chocolate of choice

Directions

If coating, you should not dust the Turkish Delight with anything – just turn it out onto a non-porous surface (such as steel, marble or glass) for cutting immediately before preparing the coating.

Finely chop chocolate if in bar/slab form.

Place about 2/3 of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl or top of double-boiler.

Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water), or put the top on the double-boiler.

Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gently stir the chocolate so that it melts evenly.

Once it’s melted, keep an eye on the thermometer – as soon as it reaches 45°C / 113°F remove from heat and place on a towel on the workbench (the towel will soak up any stray moisture so it doesn’t get into your bowl).

Add the unmelted chocolate and stir gently until the temperature of the chocolate drops to 27°C / 80°F. The “seed” chocolate will melt fairly quickly, but it could take a while to get down to temperature.

Put the bowl back on the double boiler set-up on low heat, stirring gently until it has risen back up to working temperature – 32°C / 90°F for dark chocolate, 30°C / 86°F for milk chocolate, or 29°C / 84°F for white chocolate. This will only take a minute. Remove from heat and place back on the towel.

Use a long dipping fork (a fondue fork, for example) to dip each piece of Turkish Delight into the chocolate, tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to help the excess drip off, then transfer to a sheet of parchment to set.

*****

Daring Kitchen blog-checking lines: For the Month of May, Rachael from Pizzarossa challenged us to make candy but not just any candy! She challenged us to make Turkish Delight, or Lokum.

The original challenge can be found here.

Posted in candy, daring cooks, sweet | 5 Comments

Magdalenas

Magdalenas are Spanish cupcakes very similar to French Madeleines. Simple, soft and fluffy cakes that are traditionally eaten for breakfast with a cup of coffee, they also make a great addition to a lunchbox or as an afternoon snack. Magdalenas are often flavoured with a little lemon zest, but I was out of lemons so I added vanilla extract.

magdalenas

Magdalenas keep a few days in an airtight container, but they are so ridiculously quick and easy to throw together that I bake small batches to have a fresh supply. The recipe can easily be doubled for a bigger batch.

I picked up these super cute cupcake pans at Ikea – they are the same size as a standard liner, just wider and lower.

Makes 9
Preparation about 15 minutes
Baking about 20 minutes

Ingredients

55g (1/2 stick or 1/4 cup) unsalted butter
100g (1/2 cup) granulated (white) sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
125g (1 cup) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 Tbsp granulated sugar for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F) and set out 9 paper cupcake liners on a baking sheet or in a muffin tin.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with sugar until pale and fluffy.

While beating the egg mixture, slowly pour in the melted butter and mix thoroughly. Stir in the vanilla extract and milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

While stirring the egg mixture, add the flour bit by bit until completely combined.

Spoon batter into cupcake liners, about half full, then sprinkle with the extra sugar.

Bake in centre of oven for 18 – 20 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Posted in breakfast, cake, snack, sweet | 6 Comments

Halloumi & cashew burgers

Halloumi is one of my favourite cheeses to cook with because it has a high melting point, it has a rich, salty taste and the texture is something you can really sink your teeth into. We often just slice it and fry it up in a little olive oil until it’s golden brown and serve it with a squeeze of lemon juice alongside a veggie-loaded salad, but sometimes we do something a little different with it.

Halloumi & cashew burgers

Vegetarian burgers are great, but not everyone is sold on bean or tofu versions. Why not try a halloumi based burger? Add some ground nuts for taste and texture, brighten it up with a bit of spinach and fresh parsley, then throw in some bits and pieces to bring it all together. And they’re egg-free.

Ingredients

Makes 12 patties

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
75g (2 1/2 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
500g (18 oz) halloumi
125g (1 cup) cashews
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (more or less as needed)
oil for frying

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a skillet or pan over low heat and fry the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook gently for about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Grate the halloumi using the large holes on a box grater.

Roughly grind the cashews and add to the halloumi.

Stir through the tomato paste, the contents of the skillet and the parsley and pepper to taste.

Add breadcrumbs bit by bit and use your hands to mix them in until you have a mixture that holds together well.

Form the mixture into patties and fry in plenty of oil until browned. Be gentle flipping them.

They are great with a salad or some grilled veggies.

Posted in burgers&patties | 2 Comments

Focaccia di Recco

Focaccia di Recco

I had the honour of co-hosting the Daring Bakers challenge this month, along with my dear friend Sawsan

Focaccia di Recco is from the northern coastal region of Italy called Liguria. It is unleavened and stuffed with Stracchino (Crescenza), which is a very young cheese with a fine rind barely encapsulating a gooey cheese much like a very thick mascarpone. It is very messy but utterly delicious!

Recipe adapted from here.

Servings: 16 pieces
Preparation time: 90 minutes (including resting)
Baking time: 6 minutes

Notes: If you can’t get Stracchino (Crescenza), you can use another young, melty cheese – I have used fresh mozzarella with good results.
This will probably make more dough than you need, depending on how léarge you are making your focaccia, but any excess dough can be wrapped well and frozen for several months. Alternatively, you can just make the crust thicker, as I tend to do because it’s easier to handle.

Ingredients

500g (4 cups, spooned and scraped) all-purpose flour
pinch course sea salt, plus extra for topping
45ml (3 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling and topping
300ml (1 1/4) cups water
500g (a little over a pound) Stracchino (Crescenza) cheese

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt and form a well in the middle. Add cold water and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Start mixing the dough with a fork, incorporating the flour little by little.

 photo focaccia_di_recco_001_zpsyksi7kdb.jpg

Once the dough has come together, start kneading it with your hands. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth. When the dough is ready, wrap it well with plastic wrap, being sure to expel all the air so your dough doesn’t dry out, and let it rest for an hour at room temperature.

 photo focaccia_di_recco_002_zpshndjt81s.jpg

Preheat oven to 480°F/250°C.

Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll each piece out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, trying to keep them as round and as thin as possible. I rolled these ones a little thick, because we find it easier to handle when it’s more sturdy, but traditionally it should be almost transparent.

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Grease a round pizza tray (not the type with holes in it, or you will have a very messy oven) or baking dish with olive oil. Place one layer of dough on the bottom of the dish. Add the cheese in pieces using your hands.

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Cover the cheese with the second sheet of dough. Use a knife or a pair of kitchen shears to remove any excess dough from around the edges of the pan.

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Seal the edges by pinching them together. Snip small holes into the top layer of dough so that the steam can escape during baking. Brush with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

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Bake in centre of oven for 6 – 8 minutes, until golden. When the focaccia is done, remove it from the oven and let cool enough to be handled.

Transfer to a platter, cut it and serve as an appetizer or with an aperitif.

 photo focaccia_di_recco_007_zps6m5hjcmm.jpg

*****

Daring Kitchen blog checking lines: For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch

For the recipes for the other focoaccias in this challenge and for the pdf version to download, click here

Posted in general | 6 Comments

Fugazza

Fugazza

I had the honour of co-hosting the Daring Bakers challenge this month, along with my dear friend Sawsan. We challenged our fellow Daring Bakers to make focaccia.

The word “fugazza” is an Argentinian derivation of the Italian word “focaccia” – indicative of the prominent Italian population in that South American country and of the influence of Italian cuisine there. Very similar to a focaccia, it’s usually cooked in a cast iron skillet and is generally thicker than its Italian counterpart. There is also a version called fugazzeta, which is the same but stuffed with mozzarella.

Recipe adapted from here.

Servings: 16 slices
Preparation time: 90 minutes (including proofing)
Baking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

350g (2 3/4 cups, spooned and scraped) bread flour
150ml (10 tablespoons) olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons instant dry or active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
240ml (1 cup) warm water
1 large white onion
2 teaspoons dried oregano
grated Parmesan (optional)
thinly sliced mozzarella (optional)

Directions

If using active dry yeast: Pour the warm water (100-105° F/38-40°C) into a small bowl. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, until frothy.

If using instant dry yeast: Add the yeast and the sugar with the flour.

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add 5 tablespoons of olive oil and mix together briefly using a spoon or the dough hook.

 photo fugazza_001_zpstivqnlxo.jpg

Add the yeast and water mixture and begin to knead. The mixture should come together as a soft, stretchy dough, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Add a bit more flour if mixture is too wet, or a bit more water if mixture seems dry or too firm. Knead for 5-10 minutes, until dough is smooth, soft and elastic.

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Transfer the dough to a large, clean, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

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While the dough is rising, peel, halve and slice the onion lengthwise into very thin strips. Submerge the sliced onion in a bowl of cold, salted water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain onions well and dry with paper towels.

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Preheat oven to 230°C (450°F) with a rack in the middle.

Once it has risen, punch down the dough and shape into a smooth ball. Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a large cast iron skillet or medium sized pizza pan with at least 1”/2.5cm sides. Place the ball of dough in the middle of the pan and press out gently with your fingers. Let dough relax for about 10 minutes.

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Continue to press dough out into the pan, letting it relax for a few minutes each time as necessary, until dough covers the bottom of the pan. It should take 3 – 5 repetitions, depending on the size of the pan.

Sprinkle the onions over the top of the dough. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the onions, and sprinkle with the dried oregano, rubbing it between your fingertips while doing so to bring out the flavour.

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Place the fugazza in the centre of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown. If desired, remove fugazza from oven after 15 minutes and top with thin slices of mozzarella and sprinkle with grated Parmesan then return to oven and bake until the fugazza is golden brown and crispy around the edges. Brown the onions under the oven grill or broiler for the last 2 – 3 minutes of cooking, if desired.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool enough to handle and cut into wedges or squares to serve.

 photo fugazza_007_zps8szjp3h2.jpg

*****
Daring Kitchen blog checking lines: For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch

For the recipes for the other focaccias in this challenge and for the pdf version to download, click here

Posted in bread, daring bakers | Leave a comment