Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Focaccia with Apricot Jam, Caramelized Onion, and Fennel

By • October 28, 2014 2 Comments

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Author Notes: This focaccia is fabulous at any time. The dough is my go-to for pizza and almost any flatbread-type recipe. It’s quite wet, which means that it's soft and full of bubbles when baked. The bubbles get larger, and the tangy-sour flavor deepens with a longer, cooler rise. (For pizza dough, let it rise for 3 days in the refrigerator.)MrsWheelbarrow


Makes one 14- by 10-inch focaccia

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the bowl
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
  • 2 cups sliced fennel
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces apricot jam
  • 4 ounces aged, crumbly goat cheese (but fresh is fine, too)
  • Crunchy sea salt
  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and stir well. When small bubbles start to form on the surface, after 5 minutes or so, add 1 cup of the flour and stir well. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Add another cup of the flour, the oil, rosemary, and salt, and stir until you have a shaggy mass. Turn out onto a well-floured work surface and sprinkle the dough with about a tablespoon of flour. Allow the dough to rest and absorb the flour for about 10 minutes. Wash the bowl, dry well, and lightly oil it.
  3. Using a spatula or a bench scraper, gently lift, fold, and press down the dough, then give it a quarter turn. Continue this gentle kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, about twelve turns, adding as little additional flour as possible. This is a wet, sticky, dough.
  4. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat in the oil, then cover with a tea towel and let rise for an hour. (Or, for a tangier focaccia, place the covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 2 days for a slow rise. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
  5. Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over low heat. Add the onions and fennel, season with plenty of salt and pepper, and cook slowly until well browned and caramelized, 14 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment. Brush the parchment with oil.
  7. Place the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet and press out into a 14- by 10-inch rectangle. If the dough shrinks back and fights you, let it relax for 10 minutes, then press it out gently. It does not need to be perfect by any means. Dimple the focaccia all over with your fingertips (as though you were lightly playing the piano). Let rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Brush the focaccia lightly with olive oil. Using an offset spatula, spread the preserves to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Cover the preserves with the onions and fennel. Break up the cheese and dot it over the onions. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with crunchy salt and pepper.
  9. Bake the focacccia until it is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and toasty, 20 to 25 minutes; the internal temperature will register 190° F.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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