Pumpkin Focaccia With Fresh Sage & Sea Salt

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This focaccia is certainly not a traditional one that you would find here in Italy, but it is tasty, soft textured, and bakes up a lovely orange color that is perfect for fall. I enjoy pumpkin in just about any dish, sweet or savory. Since pumpkin does not begin to show up in our local markets here in Italy until late September, I take full advantage of it when it is available to me. I first made this focaccia at a family gathering for Thanksgiving a few years ago and must have forgotten to post the recipe. With fall in full swing and Thanksgiving just around the corner, I wanted to finally share this recipe. Just as the addition of potatoes creates a soft textured focaccia crumb, so do pumpkins. Here in Italy there is no such thing as canned pumpkin, so I always roast fresh pumpkin which I feel does have more flavor.

To roast my pumpkin, I simply peel it, remove the seeds and cut it into 2 inch pieces. I roast it in my oven that is preheated to 425 degrees F, for about 30 minutes or until it is fork tender. I find that by cutting the pumpkin into pieces before I roast it, the excess water is drawn out during the cooking process, so the final pureed pumpkin is thicker. I love the combination of sage and winter squash, so I used it to flavor this focaccia, but rosemary would work well also. I also like to add a little extra coarse sea salt on top of this focaccia which works well with the subtle sweetness. This focaccia would be great cut into small slices for holiday entertaining, or into larger ones to use for sandwiches. I can just imagine the taste of sliced holiday ham, cheese, and a little cranberry sauce sandwiched inside slices of this tasty focaccia.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2014

Pumpkin Focaccia With Fresh Sage & Sea Salt

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Instant Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil Plus Additional Greasing Bowl
  • 1 1/2 Cups Pureed Roasted Pumpkin (See Notes Above)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Cups Warm Water

Topping:

  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Sage
  • 2 Tablespoons Coarse Sea Salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, and salt.
  2. Add the pumpkin, olive oil, and a cup of water and mix until combined, adding just as much additional water as is needed for the dough to come together.
  3. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand for 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl, add the dough and roll around to lightly coat in oil.
  5. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let set to rise in a warm spot in your kitchen until doubled, about an hour.
  6. Generously oil a large 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan and stretch the dough to fit.
  7. Cover with kitchen towel to rise for 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. While the dough is rising for the second time, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  9. Once the dough is ready, use oiled fingertips to create dimples across the top of the dough.
  10. Drizzle the olive oil over the dough, then scatter the sage and sprinkle with salt.
  11. Bake the focaccia for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and beginning to crisp.
  12. Cool 20 minutes, then slice into squares.