Fig, Gorgonzola, + Walnut Focaccia
My mom makes a version of this focaccia, minus the figs and it is seriously irresistible. It’s one of her go-tos for parties and get togethers. It’s pretty easy to throw together and it ALWAYS gets devoured. Focaccia all on its own is delicious: crispy exterior slicked with fruity olive oil and pillowy soft interior, it’s the perfect bite. Dressed up with some tangy blue cheese and sweet honey and you’ve got a winner. My addition of the juicy, sweet figs and crispy, nutty walnuts adds a jammy sweetness and crunch perfect alongside the pungent gorgonzola. Now I know blue cheese can be a little controversial, so if you're really not a fan, this recipe would work equally well with some chèvre goat cheese. Don't like that, either? Maybe make these figgy brownies from last year instead. They're bomb. All I know is, letting fig season pass without enjoying some would be a sin. And might I suggest this humble little loaf as the perfect vehicle? This is a great thing to bring to a party as an appetizer or even just a Sunday afternoon snack. And it makes a manageably nice-sized loaf, too. It makes just enough dough to fill a quarter sheet pan for a perfect, sharable-sized loaf but you could also totally double the recipe and fill a half sheet pan!
How do you like to enjoy figs? Let me know in the comments! And let me know if you make this focaccia!
Fig, Gorgonzola, + Walnut Focaccia
makes 1 9 x 12 inch loaf (1 quarter sheet pan)
1 package active dry yeast
1 t organic granulated cane sugar
1 1/2 c water, heated to 110 F
3 c all purpose flour
2 t Himalayan pink salt (or kosher)
3 T olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
1 c fresh figs, halved lengthwise
1/3 c gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (I’d recommend crumbling yourself from a block, not pre-crumbled)
1/4 c raw walnuts, roughly chopped
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, roughly chopped
flaky sea salt, for sprinkling on top
honey, for drizzling
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and sugar and let it stand for about 10-15 minutes, until foamy and fragrant. Once foamy, add in the flour and pink salt and with the mixer fitted with the dough hook, turn the mixer on low then slowly turn it up to medium-high as more flour is incorporated, to avoid a cloud of flour in your kitchen. Continue to let the dough knead in the mixer for about 5 minutes or so, until a sticky dough just starts to come together. This is a fairly wet dough so it’s not going to look perfectly smooth at this stage. Grease the sides and bottom of a large glass bowl with a generous drizzle of olive oil and using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough out and add to greased bowl, tossing in the oil to coat on all sides. Cover the bowl in a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450 F. Punch the dough down. Grease the bottom and sides of a quarter sheet pan with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. This may seem like a lot but when it comes to focaccia, you really can’t have too much olive oil! It soaks into the crust as it bakes, and creates the signature crispy exterior that makes it so delicious. Lay the dough in the pan and gently stretch it to fill the pan. Let rise for about 30 minutes. If it doesn’t quite reach to the corners, that’s ok. It’s going to fill it out completely as it rises.
After the dough has risen, drizzle the dough generously with more olive oil and spread out evenly over the surface with your hands. Gently make dimples all over the surface of the dough by pressing your fingertips into the surface. Add the fig halves all over the dough, pressing them in lightly. Sprinkle the walnuts over the dough evenly, followed by the fresh thyme leaves. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until focaccia is golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle over the gorgonzola cheese, allowing it to melt slightly. Drizzle with honey (as much as you’d like!) and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Enjoy warm or room temperature!