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Fig and Rosemary Schiacciata

fig and rosemary schiacciata

I’m still on a fig roll.  Figs are in season in the southern hemisphere, and our trees all have a decent crop this year.  I made a baked fig rice pudding for a barbeque last night, but it was only ok.  I think maybe rice pudding really needs no eggs and to be served in a bowl rather than sliced.

This fig and rosemary schiacciata (or focaccia? I’m not sure of the difference) though was recipe-writing worthy.   It starts with a sourdough and a rosemary infused honey oil, for which you need almost no time for making but at least 10 hours or so for proving. So this is a magnificent weekend brunch that fits with a lazy Sunday morning, but you need to remember to start it the night before.

Step 1:

The Rosemary Oil

  • Roughly chop a good handful of fresh rosemary.  Put it in a small pot and just cover with olive oil.  Add a good teaspoon of honey and a pinch of salt.
  • Heat the oil till it just starts to bubble, then turn it off and let the pot sit, so that the rosemary infuses the warm oil

The Sourdough

  • Take the sourdough starter out of the fridge.
  • Mix 1  cup of unbleached bakers flour, 1  cup of water, and 1 cup of starter.
  • Put half of it back in the fridge.  You should be left with 1 cup of fed starter, to put in a bowl covered with a clean cloth on the kitchen bench for a few hours  (depending on how lively your starter is and how warm your kitchen) to froth up and get breeding.

Stage 2:

  • Mix in 1 cup of baker’s flour, a little dollop of olive oil (perhaps a tablespoonful), and half a teaspoon of salt. It will be more like a sticky batter than a dough.  Let that sit for half an hour or so and miraculously it will lose a lot of the stickiness.
  • Flour the benchtop well, and tip the mix out onto it.  Sprinkle flour on top.  Knead it briefly,  kneading in just enough more flour to get a ball of soft, springy dough.  To get the open, chewy crumb you want to keep the dough as “hydrated” (as in, wet) as you can. Put a good dollop of  olive oil in a large bowl, swirl the dough ball around in it to coat, cover the bowl with a clean cloth, and leave out on the benchtop for another few hours (or overnight) to prove. It should double in size.

Stage 3:

  • Turn your oven on to heat up to medium hot.
  • Oil a shallow baking pan.  Mine is an oblong pan 30 cm long.  Tip the dough out onto a floured bench, knock it down, and pat and stretch it into a shape that fits the pan, then transfer it in.
  • Slice half a dozen large figs into 1.5 cm slices and arrange over the top.
  • Strain the rosemary honey oil and sprinkle it over the top of the figs and the crust.
  • Bake for around 40 minutes until the crust is browning and the figs are caramelised.

For a spectacular taste sensation, slice off warm chunks and spread with goat’s cheese.

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