I've mentioned before that Caroline loves to help me in the kitchen. However, due to her egg allergy, she is limited in what she can actually eat. So I feel bad for her to help me bake cupcakes, only to tell her later that she can't have one. Which is why bread is such a perfect thing for us to bake together.
There are several fun steps for her to help me with in this focaccia recipe. It is kneaded by hand, and while I know I could just use my stand mixer, I think it's a lot more fun to do it by hand. Especially a 2 year old's tiny hands. :-) She also thought it was great fun to punch down the dough and spread it in the pan, and then to make the little "dimples" with her fingers. Finally, we scattered some blueberries on top. And then of course the best part: the taste testing!
And the verdict? We both really liked it! It was a bit of an experiment. I had actually never heard of blueberry focaccia, nor did I have a real recipe to follow. I just took my favorite focaccia recipe, decreased the salt, added some sugar, and used butter instead of olive oil. I simply sprinkled some blueberries on top, followed by some sugar and lemon zest, and baked it as usual. I actually had some blueberry goat cheese that I'd picked up from Trader Joe's, so I used that on half just for fun. It added a really great flavor to the bread, and I loved the contrast with the sweet berries.
This makes a great breakfast or snack, and I think it would be a fun addition to an Easter brunch. And it's 2 year old-approved!
Pink Parsley original, basic focaccia dough adapted from Williams-Sonoma
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs melted butter
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbs sugar, divided
- zest of 1 lemon, divided
- 1 heaping cup blueberries (fresh, or frozen that have been rinsed and dried)
- goat cheese, for sprinkling (optional)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Oil a 15x10x1 inch baking pan, and punch down the dough. Transfer to the pan and press down with your hands to flatten the dough and cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with a clean, lint-free kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise again until puffy, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Using your fingertips, press dimples in the dough about 1-inch apart and 1-inch deep. Scatter the blueberries over the top, then drizzle with the butter and sprinkle with the remaining sugar and lemon zest. Top with goat cheese if using.
Bake 15-25 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown. Slide the focaccia onto a wire rack to cool, then cut into squares and serve.