I love cherries! Living in Door County, Wisconsin for over 20 years, who wouldn’t be addicted to this delicious and healthy fruit. Pictured below is a photo I took at a local farm market last week. Although Door County is known for the sour Montmorency cherry, we also have the delicately flavored yellow and pink hued Queen Anne cherry as well as a sweet version of a red cherry.
My cherry focaccia recipe is a terrific bread which can be used as an appetizer or dessert with some of your favorite cheese. Our Wisconsin made Black River Bleu cheese is a particular favorite of mine. I used pitted Montmorency cherries and fresh rosemary from my garden in the recipe when I made it for this post. But feel free to use a regular Bing cherry….or substitute seedless black grapes….another great variation. This is a softer focaccia than some you may have had in the past. I baked it in a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom to keep it nice and round. Enjoy!
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water water (105 to 110 degrees)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups of all purpose flour (plus a little more to dust your work area with)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dry milk powder
1 1/2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter cut into pieces
4 tablespoons melted and cooled unsalted butter
1 cup pitted cherries
1 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons raw turbinado sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor, stir together the water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for about 20 minutes or until foamy.
Stir together the flour, salt, milk powder and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the softened butter. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture with your mixer on low speed (If you have a Kitchenaid mixer, use the flat paddle). If using a food processor, pulse to combine. The dough will be slightly wet but should form a kind of “ball”. (see photo)
Brush a large bowl with a coating of the melted butter (save some for later use to brush the top of the bread). Put the dough into the bowl and turn to coat it with butter. Brush more of the melted butter on top of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a draft free place for 1 1/2 hours.
Press dough down with your hand (you may want to put a light dusting of flour on your hand so it doesn’t stick). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball. Place it in a 9 to 10 cast-iron skillet or a cake pan that has been lightly brushed with a little more of the melted butter. Use your hands to lightly place the dough into the pan. Brush top with remaining melted butter. Press cherries decoratively around the focaccia.
Cover the pan lightly with saran wrap and let rise for another hour to 1 1/4 hours. While rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle with the chopped fresh rosemary. Sprinkle with the raw sugar .
Bake the focaccia in the preheated oven until lightly browned….about 20 to 25 minutes. The crust will be golden and the bread will be slightly puffed. Let cool for 15 minutes then unmold. Serve warm or at room temperature.