Focaccias – the perfect snack for any gathering.
Wondering what to take to a family gathering or party with friends? Try these delicious focaccias, made with sun-dried tomatoes, homemade pesto and love. If kneading dough for 10 minutes sounds like a sentence to purgatory, put on a couple of your favourite tunes and roll with it. Or watch the first 10 minutes of a Sherlock episode with the adorable Benedict Cumberbatch. Swoon.
sun-dried tomato and pesto focaccias
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for bread board
Shortening, as needed
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, minced
2 tbsp basil pesto (recipe follows)
In large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand 10 minutes. Whisk in 2 tbsp oil and salt. Stir in 3 1/2 cups flour until smooth. Gradually stir in remaining flour as needed until soft dough is formed.
Scatter a bit of flour over bread or cutting board. Turn out dough and knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Dust with small amount of flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Spread a large bowl with shortening. Place dough in bowl, turning to coat with shortening. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Punch down dough and transfer to floured bread or cutting board.
Using a knife, cut dough in half. Pat each half to 1/2-inch thickness. Top one half with sun-dried tomatoes. Top the remaining half with pesto. Knead each half into a ball until ingredients are distributed evenly. With hands, flatten balls into 8-inch circles.
Spread two 8-inch round cake pans with shortening. Transfer each 8-inch round of dough into pans. Brush with remaining oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Heat oven to 400˚F. Dimple dough by pressing finger into several places in top of dough. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, brush with additional olive oil and cool on rack. Makes 2 loaves; cut each loaf into 8 to 10 wedges.
Basil pesto freezes well for up to 3 months. I make this at the end of summer, when basil is plentiful, but it’s so good it’s truly worth a trip to the supermarket for fresh basil in October.
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 tsp salt
In a food processor, mince pine nuts and garlic. Add oil; pulse 3 times. Add basil, cheese and salt. Process until finely minced. Yields 3/4 cup.