Focaccia Dolce con Crema di Cioccolato (Sweet Focaccia Filled with Chocolate Cream)

23 Apr

Sweet focaccia : a childhood memory! Something that my mom used to prepare for me as an afternoon snack after school, something da leccarsi le dita (literally to lick your fingers, to make your mouth water)! It is popular in some Northern regions, made simply like a regular focaccia (see post http://passionandcooking.com/2013/01/29/focaccia/ ) but with sugar in the dough and sprinkled with sugar, raisins, honey or almonds.  It is even tastier if you fill it with chocolate cream, a rich and creamy spread made mainly of dark chocolate and roasted Piedmont hazelnuts. Piedmont is very famous for its hazelnuts that are used in many chocolate confections, including spreadable creams, the ultimate chocolate ecstasy. The chocolate spread is something favored by kids but it also ranks high amongst adults as comfort food. It is delicious on toasts, crackers and bananas. Have you ever tried an Italian-American banana sandwich? Take two slices of banana and top one with chocolate cream and the other with peanut butter; put them together and pop the whole thing into your mouth. It’s something to die for!!!!

FOCACCIA DOLCE CON CREMA DI CIOCCOLATO (SWEET FOCACCIA FILLED WITH CHOCOLATE CREAM)
Preparation time: 2 ½ hours           Baking time: 15-20 minutes     Servings: 6-8

Focaccia con Nutella Fetta

INGREDIENTS
Basic recipe
500 g (3 cups) high-gluten flour (Manitoba)
250 ml water (1 cup + 5 tablespoons) + 100 ml (7 tablespoons) skimmed milk at 45°C, 110 °F
130 ml (9 tablespoons) olive oil (Extra Virgin)
5 g (1 teaspoon) salt
80 g (6 tablespoons) sugar
1 package (7 g ;1 heaping teaspoon) dried yeast or 1 cube (25 g; about 1 ounce) fresh yeast
Granulated sugar

Filling
Chocolate cream

DIRECTIONS
1. In a small pitcher mix water and milk. Stir in salt until dissolved, then add 40 ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil.  Mix well, then dissolve sugar in it.  Sugar is the so called “nourishment” for yeast 
2. Pour the liquid in a large glass bowl and combine with half of the flour.  Stir well until you have a smooth batter
3. Add yeast to the batter, stirring well.  Remember never add yeast directly to salt, because it  prevents the yeast from rising
4. Add the remaining flour to the batter.  Mix well until you have a smooth and even dough, but still a little bit sticky
5. Remove the dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly for about 1-2 minutesDo not add too much flour otherwise the dough will get tough
6. Lightly oil (with about 3 tablespoons) a 25×35 cm (10×14 in.) baking sheet; place the dough in center of the pan and cover with a cotton towel.  Let rise in a warm, draft-free place (about 30°C, 86°F) for about 60-90 minutes until doubled in size
7. Preheat oven to 220 °C (425°F)
8. Pat the dough into the baking sheet, filling it completely.  Brush the dough with oil.  Let it rise for about 30 minutes at 30°C until increases its volume
9. Press some deep holes into the dough with your finger tips, covering the entire surface
10. Drizzle with about 3 tablespoons oil olive (cover all areas of the dough) and wet the top with some water, using a spray-bottle, to keep focaccia soft.  Sprinkle with some granulated sugar (2-3 tablespoons)
11. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden
12. Remove from oven and cool on a grid. When it is cool fill it with the chocolate spread. I would recommend to fill only the piece you are going to eat. It is especially tasty if you eat it warm.

Note: The type of water is very important; the pH should be around 6.  I usually use bottled drinking water to avoid having too much chlorine in the dough. The rising temperature is critical too, therefore place the dough in a warm draft-free place and do not open the oven during baking.  Another important piece of information is to never mix salt and yeast directly, because salt inhibits the action of the yeast.  Focaccia can keep for about two days wrapped in plastic wrap without filling, but I suggest eating it fresh, just out of the oven, to fully enjoy its fragrance.  -Paola

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: