Monday, March 7, 2011

Cranberry Focaccia Redux

Ina Garten did a most delicious looking apple and cranberry cake on her show today.  It inspired me to rummage around in the freezer for a perhaps forgotten bag of cranberries.  Alas, no luck.  But I did have a container of dried cranberries.

I've shared this recipe for cranberry focaccia previously but here it is again for those of you who weren't around the first time.  It's delicious with sliced turkey as a sandwich, as an accompaniment to soups (with a little butter slathered on) and with salads.

The recipe calls for a "well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet". I've had this skillet for more than twenty years. It belonged to a wonderful lady who babysat for us. When Lyda gave it to me, it was already well-seasoned. She had used it for fifty years! This pan is seventy years old and a favorite in our kitchen.  If you have a younger pan, I'm sure it will work just as well but without the memories.

After cooling on a wire rack, the focaccia could be wrapped and frozen. But not today. There's some deli-sliced turkey and romaine lettuce dressed with a little mayonnaise to be tucked inside.

Cranberry Cornmeal Focaccia
From an ancient Gourmet Magazine

3/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115F)
1 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves plus 6 sprigs for topping

In a small saucepan, bring cold water and cranberries just to a boil and remove pan from heat. Let cranberries stand 15 minutes. Drain cranberries into a sieve set over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid, and cool. Coarsely chop half the cranberries and set both the chopped and whole cranberries aside.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir on lowest speed the yeast, sugar and warm water for a few seconds and let stand 5 minutes until foamy. Add the chopped cranberries, reserved 1/4 cup of the cranberry liquid, flour, cornmeal, Parmesan, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, 2 tsp of the salt, the pepper and the chopped rosemary.

Continuing with the paddle attachment, knead dough 3 minutes, or until soft and slightly sticky. Scrape dough into a lightly oiled large bowl and form into a ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise, in a warm place, 30 minutes or until almost doubled in bulk.

Transfer dough to an oiled, well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet or an oiled 10-inch pie plate and let rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

Brush dough with remaining tablespoon oil and press the reserved whole cranberries and rosemary sprigs randomly on top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp coarse salt.

Bake focaccia in middle of oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.