Cherry-Almond Foccacia

Cherry Almond Foccacia

This could have been a post about sticky buns. You see, back at Easter, we have a gaggle of friends over for brunch. It started out innocently, when Kat asked about lemon-ginger scones. I told her I would provide the next time she came to Ottawa. That stumbled into a brunch spread for twelve of our nearest and dearest. (And you wonder why I catered my own wedding?)

There were eggs, bacon, two kinds of scones (the aforementioned lemon-ginger), fruit salad (courtesy of another friend), dutch babies, and sticky buns. Also, there was nutella and homemade jams and jams from Michael’s Dolce for the dutch baby, of course.

The sticky buns were insanely delicious, if a little too cloyingly sweet for my taste. But their texture was perfect. I’ve always been a bit hesitant about doughs, especially things like brioche which are complicated sounding. This is not. Moreover, it’s one brioche recipe that can be infinitely adapted for delicious brioche-based treats. Sticky buns, sweet pretzels, foccacia, you name it and this dough recipe can probably produce it. Don’t walk. Run to make this. The cherry and almonds play off one another really nicely and make for an excellent springtime breakfast treat.

Cherry-Almond Foccacia
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Master Sweet Dough
2/3 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 115°F. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. 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.

Brush a medium bowl with some olive oil; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with oil; cover with plastic wrap. At this point, you can refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours.
Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1 1/2 hours (or 2 1/2 hours if dough has been refrigerated).

Cherry Almond Foccacia
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup dried sour cherries
1 cup sour cherry syrup
1 cup sliced almonds (with or without skins)
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Punch down dough. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Press dough evenly into pan, leaving a 1 1/2″ border. 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 dried cherries to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced by half 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; let cool completely.

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 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.


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