Black Grape and Rosemary Focaccia

 

I’m a huge sucker for those food combinations that are opposites, but go together so perfectly that you wonder why they’re opposites in the first place.  You know… sweet and salty, crispy and chewy. So it’s no surprise that when I saw this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs a while back, I had to have it.  And I proceeded to save it on my computer,gaze at the pictures longingly once in a while, and justify in my head why today just isn’t the day for it.

Finally, finally, finally, the day had come.  I had things to do around the house all day, which as we all know, is the perfect kind of day for making yeast dough.  Now, before you say you don’t do things like that, hear me out.  It’s really not so bad as people make it out to be.  And the results are so delicious and worth it.  Ok, here is how I see it: there are things that take a little more effort in cooking that are worth it and then there are some things that aren’t worth it.  The worth it things, for me, include: using real chocolate in brownies, organic cage-free eggs, and homemade yeast dough.  The not-worth-it things:  expensive pepper, bottled water, table-tempering chocolate.

What I’m trying to tell you is that this recipe is a big WORTH IT.  You won’t be sorry.  The crust is so much better and different than some of the heavy, clunky focaccia that you get at mediocre Italian restaurants.  It’s really like a tender, crisp cross between focaccia and pizza crust.  And the sweet black grapes bubble away and the flavor is concentrated and syrupy sweet against the crunch of the sea salt.  Not to mention the rosemary.  Like I said, WORTH IT.

Black Grape and Rosemary Focaccia

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup (177 ml) warm water (105° to 110°F)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk, slightly warmed

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt

6 tablespoons (90 ml) olive oil

1 1/2 cups halved seedless black grapes

1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary

2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the yeast mixture and mix well on low. Attach the dough hook, raise the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for 8 minutes longer.

You can do this by hand, but I’m warning you, this dough is very sticky, so it will be pretty difficult.  Don’t get me wrong, it’ll turn out fine, but you might find yourself, um… frustrated.

Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Shape dough into a round-ish blob and place in the bowl.  Brush the top with a little more oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a cool place until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Press the dough down with a floured hand. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it into two balls. Brush a large baking sheet (or two small ones) with olive oil, place the balls of dough on it and brush the top with more oil. Set it aside for 20 minutes, lightly covered with a kitchen towel. After 20 minutes, dip your fingers in olive oil and press and stretch each ball of dough into a 8 to 9-inch circle-ish shape. It will be dimpled from your fingers. Cover again with the towel and let it rise for another 1 1/4 hours in a cool place.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle tops of dough with remaining olive oil and top the sprinkle grapes, rosemary, and coarse sea salt evenly over the dough. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and puffed around edges. Let cool before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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