Opening my mailbox to find one of my cooking magazines can really make a food blogger’s week. Bon Appetit has been knocking out of the park and if I’m being completely honest, their dessert recipes always reel me in. Some of their entree dishes have me running in fear of new ingredients or new cooking methods, but the desserts…they’re always worth the effort, aren’t they?
Kind of like how I chose making this dough versus cleaning prior to my parent’s arrival last weekend . I will tackle the challenge of yeast before I attempt to remove every crumb of dog food from my kitchen floor.
(Make note, bulldogs are messy, messy eaters. I consider this good preparation for children.)
As the recipe gave me the option of doing, I made this dough a day in advance and stored it in the fridge overnight. I took it out several hours before beginning and allowed it to rise.
Is waiting for dough to rise not like waiting for a pot of water to boil? Not only does it take for-ev-er, but I’m never quite sure what “doubled” really looks like. Sometimes doubled looks like an increase of some sort…other times is looks more like quadrupled the volume. Who knows.
My yeast-novice and fearing self followed the directions verbatim and ended up with what I would consider a dessert focaccia masterpiece. Maybe it’s the carbs…maybe it’s the cherries, but either way…this recipe is a winner.
While this recipe emits hopes and dreams of warmer, sunny weather, the use of canned cherries make this dessert an option any time of year. Though I must say, fresh cherries have got to take this to a whole other level.
Summer’s bing cherries…they’re comin’.
My family couldn’t keep their hands out of this dessert. And the smells…oh, the smells!
I’m fairly certain my dad was picking at the leftovers the morning after as I was flipping pancakes. Not to throw him under the bus or anything…his wandering fingers are a sign of flattery and good taste in food. A girl can’t blame the man for such antics.
If I can tackle yeast and Bon Appetit desserts, perhaps I should fear not the entree selections. Perhaps…
Cherry-Almond Focaccia slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
2/3 cup whole milk
5 Tbsp sugar, divided
1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups drained pitted tart cherries in light syrup + 1 cup cherry syrup from can
1/2 cup raw sugar, divided
1/2 cup sliced almonds
For the dough, heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110–115 F. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.
Combine remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.
Place dough in bowl that has been coated with non-stick spray; cover with plastic wrap. Note: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic; chill.
Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours (or 2–2 1/2 hours if dough has been refrigerated).
Punch down dough. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Press dough evenly into pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel; let rise in a warm, draft-free area until puffed but not doubled in size, 45–50 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring cherry syrup and 1/4 cup granulated sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; let cool.
Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400 F. Using your fingertips, press dimples all over dough surface. Drizzle dough with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Scatter cherries over, pressing them gently into dough. Drizzle reduced syrup over, allowing it to pool into nooks and crannies. Sprinkle almonds over, then remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Let rise until dough is doubled in size, 15–20 minutes.
Bake until focaccia is golden brown, 20–23 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 16 servings.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 246 calories; 11.3 g. fat; 25 mg. cholesterol; 177 mg. sodium; 31.9 g. carbohydrate; 2.9 g. fiber; 1.9 g. protein
Result: This was a chic dessert and worth the effort! My family loved this and it certainly provided that wow-factor for guests. Cherries are always a treat and together with almonds over a moist, soft and sweet focaccia is nothing shy of heavenly. Going into the warmer months, keep this gem of a recipe in mind for something a bit on the lighter side.
Today is a busy day…but more on that at a later date! But believe you me, big news is a’comin!