I make focaccia just about every week, sometimes keeping it simple so I can use the flatbread for sandwiches while other times I like to play around with different toppings. Caramelized onions, pears, and Gorgonzola cheese are a combination made in heaven, so I recently decided to use these ingredients as my focaccia topping. My first effort was delicious, but I apparently cooked the onions too much before I placed them on top of the focaccia because after I had baked the bread, they were very dark brown and not very attractive looking. The cheese too overcooked, and although the focaccia tasted great, its appearance certainly wasn’t picture worthy. Being a perfectionist, I had to try this recipe once more, so I could get it right. The second time I cooked the onions just until they were light brown, and I put the cheese on the bread after it had been cooking for a while. I am happy to say that my second attempt was a success and the flatbread turned out exactly as I had hoped it would.
You can use any type of blue cheese you prefer, but I like using Gorgonzola Picante as it has a bit of a bite to it that compliments the sweetness of the onions and pear perfectly. This focaccia is great cut into squares and enjoyed as a snack, or cut into thin strips and served with a glass of wine when entertaining. Focaccia freezes well, and since it is just my husband and myself at home, I usually freeze half my focaccia in squares, and then my husband can take out a couple of pieces anytime he wants a snack as they’ll thaw out in less than an hour.
Deborah Mele 2016
- 5 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Instant Active Dry Yeast
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus 2 Additional Tablespoons To Oil Bowl)
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2+ Cups Warm Water
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided, Plus Extra For Drizzling
- 1 Large Onion, Thinly Sliced
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 2 Bosc Pears, Peeled, Cored, And Chopped
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water.
- Add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
- Add half the water and stir.
- Continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
- Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
- Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
- Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
- Roll the ball of dough around in the oil ensuring the sides of the bowl and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. (I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)
- Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil.
- Add the onion, cover and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 10 minutes, then set aside.
- In the same pan, add the remaining oil, and cook the pears over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes, then set aside until needed.
- Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
- Dump your risen dough into the pan punching it down to deflate it.
- Press the dough with your fingers to fit into the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Scatter the onions over the dough, then spoon the pear over the dough evenly.
- Drizzle about 1/4 of a cup of olive oil over the top of the dough, and sprinkle with a teaspoon of sea salt.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, then sprinkle the blue cheese over the dough.
- Cook an additional 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.