baking

Breads

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com
Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com

Focaccia! Who doesn't love it? It's like a pillow top mattress you can eat. I'm a lover of all bread but there's something about focaccia that makes it especially irresistible. Oh wait I know what it is - all those pools and puddles of luscious olive oil it's baked in. Before you get too jealous that I have an entire pan sitting before me, know that I'll be compensating this week by forcing myself to take the monster stairs at the Porter Square T stop.

Focaccia is of course Italian but funny enough my most memorable experience with it was in Oaxaca, Mexico. After a week of feasting on tortillas, I stumbled across a European bakery with rows and rows of focaccia studded with all manner of enticing toppings - green olives, black olives, cherry tomatoes, charred onions, fresh cheeses and herbs. I handed the baker my pesos, stepped outside, and ate an entire slab standing right there on the street corner. I don't even remember what kind I chose but I do recall it was crispy and chewy and soft all at once and left my hands glossy with oil. In a word, perfection. So perfect in fact that I doubted I could recreate that magic at home. However I'm here to attest that homemade focaccia is really easy and really, really good. Even if you plan to give it all away to friends it's worth baking for the aroma alone.

Now a word about the Meyer lemons. If you're skeptical about them, don't be! They're delicious rind and all. Meyers are sweeter than regular old lemons and not nearly as sour. They add an unexpected juicy tang that's - warning - highly addictive. My one regret is not scattering them more liberally.

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com
Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com
Mayer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia

Adapted from this Food Network recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 springs rosemary, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 (or 2!) Meyer lemons sliced very thinly
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Prep

  • Combine yeast, water, and honey in a small bowl and let sit in a warm place for at least 15 minutes until it's nice and frothy.
  • In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook combine flour, yeast mixture, salt, and 1/2 cup of the olive oil on low speed.
  • Continue to knead on low speed (I used the '2' setting on my KitchenAid) for 4-5 minutes; dough will be smooth and sticky.
  • Sprinkle with flour and turn onto smooth surface.
  • Knead a couple times until dough comes together and shape into a ball.
  • Coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil, place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for at least one hour, until dough has doubled in size.
  • After dough has risen you're ready to press into your baking sheet. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil onto baking sheet and then use your hands to stretch dough to fit the pan. Flip dough over once so it's well coated with olive oil on both sides. While you're stretching out the dough use your fingers to poke holes all the way through. This will ensure those classic focaccia dimples.
  • Once your dough has stretched, let sit for one more hour to rise again. Use this time to preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prep your toppings if you haven't already.
  • After an hour your focaccia is ready to bake. Scatter toppings and finish with sea salt.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until focaccia is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Want new posts delivered hot + fresh to your inbox? Subscribe here.

Sweets

Strawberry Crostata + Basil Whipped Cream

Strawberry Crostata | www.hungryinlove.com
Basil Whipped Cream | www.hungryinlove.com

Before this here pie, the last time I enjoyed strawberry and basil together was in a vodka drink. They're splendid companions whether the accompanying vice is booze or butter (as in this case). Do you ever draw recipe inspiration from cocktails? It's a great place to go hunting. Cocktail lists these days are chock full of cryptic, trendy-sounding mash-ups like 'Balsamic, Sassafras + Peat' or 'Cocoa, Orange Blossom, + Smoke'. Eh? It's pretty much impossible to forecast what the drink will taste like but there's entertainment value in the puzzle. Strawberry + basil on the other hand is a more down-home combo. I know exactly the flavors they'll deliver: summer weekend. Since Memorial Day graced New England with one of those I was reminded of the note-to-self I'd filed after that cocktail: 'strawberry season - subtract vodka - add whipped cream'. The strawberries haven't quite arrived yet here but I couldn't wait that long.

Strawberry Crostata | www.hungryinlove.com
Strawberry Crostata | www.hungryinlove.com
Strawberry Crostata | www.hungryinlove.com
Strawberry Crostata | www.hungryinlove.com
Strawberry Crostata + Basil Whipped Cream | www.hungryinlove.com

Ingredients

Strawberry Crostata

For the Crust

This is a killer crostata dough from Bon Appetit's May 2011 issue. The original recipe features a filling of raspberry and rhubarb. I've enjoyed it many times and also dabbled with other berry combos. They all shine with this crust as the foundation. I heart it. You will too.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 12 Tbs. chilled unsalted butter (1.5 sticks), cut into small cubes (cold butter is key; after cutting place in a bowl and pop in the freezer until ready to use)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs. whole milk or half-and-half

For the Filling

  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled and cut in halves or quarters
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbs.)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sea salt and granulated sugar

Basil whipped Cream

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 6-8 sprigs fresh basil
  • 2 Tbs. confectioner's sugar

 

Prep

Infuse the Cream

  • In small saucepan heat cream over medium-high heat just until bubbles begin to appear around the edge of the pan
  • Remove from heat
  • Add basil and allow to steep for ~20 minutes
  • Move the saucepan to the fridge and continue to steep until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours

Make the Dough

  • Whisk egg and milk (or half and half) together in a small bowl, set aside
  • In a food processor pulse flours, sugar, and salt until blended; about five seconds
  • Add cubed butter and pulse until mixture is gravely and butter is the size of peas, about 6-8 pulses
  • Add egg mixture and pulse until dough begins to come together into moist clumps
  • Turn dough onto a floured surface and gather into a ball
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge to chill, at least 90 minutes

Prep the Strawberries

  • About 30 minutes before you're ready to assemble the crostata, prep the strawberries
  • Cut into halves (or quarters if very large) and measure 4 cups
  • Stir together strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a bowl and let sit for ~20 minutes

Assemble the Crostata

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Whisk egg in a small bowl and set aside
  • Tear a sheet of parchment paper (roughly the size of your baking sheet) and place on your work surface; dust with flour
  • Use a rolling pin to roll dough into a 12 inch round on the parchment paper
  • Lift parchment paper and place on baking sheet before adding the filling
  • Brush dough with beaten egg
  • Scoop strawberry filling into the center of the dough and carefully spread, leaving a 1.5 inch border
  • Fold edges of dough over strawberries
  • Brush dough edges with beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with sugar and sea salt
  • Bake until the crust is browned and filling bubbly, about 45 minutes
  • Let cool before cutting and serving

Make the Whipped Cream

  • Remove cream from fridge
  • Discard basil sprigs
  • Place cream and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (chill the bowl and attachment first for best results)
  • Beat cream on medium-high speed until firm peaks form, about 6-8 minutes (don't over beat or you'll end up with butter)

Serve crostata slices dolloped with whipped cream and basil chiffonade.