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Smoky brie & cherry tomato focaccia, in lieu of summer

February 11, 2012

As Mika mentioned at Milliemirepoix, New Zealand summer so far has been a bit disappointing. Without warm weather, I can’t justify enough picnicking to keep the baking, bite-sized-foods-maker in me happy. As luck would have it, today is a gorgeous day and here I am inside. So I brought summer inside with a slice of this focaccia.

Studded with the tiniest cherry tomatoes I’ve ever laid eyes on, brushed with thyme, rosemary and NZ-made chipotle flakes, and covered in slices of Evansdale smoked brie (available in Christchurch at Canterbury Cheesemongers). The wintery herbs from the garden made this beautifully rich and moreish in the cold weather, whilst the cherry tomatoes add a pop of seasonality. Oh yes, and it has one of my favourite cheeses on top. It’s so flavoursome you really don’t need any dips or anything, so is a pretty good option for any of you lucky enough to squeeze in a picnic.

Smoked brie and cherry tomato focaccia

makes a thick square 8″ focaccia, or you can make a larger thinner one

Olive oil dough, adapted from Artisan Bread in 5 – this is the dough I use for pizza too coincidentally.

You can use your go-to focaccia dough recipe if you like. This one is very chewy and moist and has a crunchy/chewy crust. It’s also easier than pie. It tastes best the day it’s baked, but you can use it to make luxurious croutons that are soft on the inside and crisp on the outside (in the pan, medium-high heat for a short time in some olive oil, wriggled about a bit). Of course if you like those gum-destroying super crunchy croutons you can let the cubes dry out a bit and bake on a lowish heat for a while, but I’m too lazy for that and I like my gums.

  • 3 1/4 c plain flour (I used 1/4c wholemeal)
  • about 3/4 Tbs salt
  • about 1 Tbs honey
  • about 3/4 Tbs active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 c lukewarm water
  • about 2 Tbs olive oil
In a large bowl, mix everything but flour, to dissolve the honey a bit. Mix in flour to get a very wet sticky dough. Cover with a plate and let rise overnight, until the dough has flattened on top. The long rest gives the dough a bit more flavour, but you can use it once it has doubled in size.
Pour about 1 Tbs olive oil into the 8″ pan, and brush to coat the bottom and sides. Scrape dough into pan, stretching it to fill the pan evenly.* Push cherry tomatoes into the dough.
*If you want lots of cheesiness, you can pour half the dough in, flatten it, lay cheese slices over, then scrape the rest of the dough on top, but it probably won’t be easy.

Topping

  • cherry tomatoes (halved if you want)
  • about 1 tsp each rosemary and thyme, fresh or dried
  • pinch chipotle flakes or smoked paprika
  • slices of smoked brie, or regular brie

Once cherry tomatoes are pushed into the dough, bash the herbs and chipotle in a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle over the dough, brush with more olive oil.

Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Let the dough sit until it rises a little (took 40 minutes in my barely-warm kitchen), then lay over slices of brie, and pop into preheated oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown.

Currently Clickalicious

Sesame-miso cookies @ Milliemirepoix

Raspberry & white chocolate muffins with chambord glace icing @ Society of Drink

How to poach eggs in the microwave @ Foodess

Roasted roots with raw beetroosh @ Green Kitchen Stories

Foodie fave

These summer music/food events put on by Taste Events at Riccarton House & Bush. In case you’re not following the blog on Facebook, here are the details for the Belgium beer & mussel festival happening on the 18th (that’s the coming Saturday!). The mussel dishes sound amaaazing and I hear there’ll be exciting non-alcoholic options too, which is something I always feel kiwi food events and places lack!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2012 8:19 pm

    Summer seems to have arrived here in Auckland in the last few days, but I could eat this focaccia any time of the year :-). Yummm!

    Ciao
    Alessandra

  2. February 11, 2012 8:22 pm

    Looks yummy Zo, you can come and picnic up here, finally sunshine!

  3. February 11, 2012 9:01 pm

    That looks amazing… I’m planning sort of a forced Valentine’s Day picnic and was looking for something summery enough to offset the fact that we’ll probably have to eat in the car while rain streaks down the windshield. I think we have a winner.

  4. February 11, 2012 10:25 pm

    Oh, wow. This is a sensational looking bread if I ever saw one and I imagine it would taste divine too.

  5. February 12, 2012 2:09 am

    Wow, this looks delicious!

  6. February 12, 2012 7:38 am

    I love this sweet take on a classic!

  7. February 13, 2012 2:17 am

    I love focaccia but have never attempted it on my own before. Maybe this will inspire me!

  8. Sarah permalink
    February 14, 2012 1:10 am

    Do you think using goats curd instead of brie would work?

  9. February 14, 2012 11:42 am

    A: It’s still miserable down here, but glad somewhere in NZ is enjoying summer!

    A: Hehe it will have to be virtually going up North unfortunately, but appreciate the thought nonetheless

    W: Ahhh, you jinxed the Chch weather for V day :D

    L: The smoked brie really is amazingly pretty (and yummy)

    V & R: Thanks :)

    2: Hope you like this one :)

    S: I would spread it on afterwards, since the last time I tried baking goat’s curd in a pizza it zapped a lot of the flavour away.

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