This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the River Cottage Fruit book. I keep coming back to St Agur as the cheese of choice but you can experiment with your favourites.
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 10g salt
- 1 tsp fast acting yeast
- extra virgin olive oil (lots!)
- 150g blue cheese
- 1-2 pears
- Sea salt flakes
Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 350ml lukewarm water and mix to combine. You might find this dough easiest to knead in a freestanding mixer with a dough hook, but it can be done by hand too – turn out onto an oiled surface and knead for 10 minutes. This is a very wet dough! You will need some sort of scraping device to get it off your hands from time to time – you might find oiling your hands helps. It will still be sloppy when it is done. Oil your bowl and put the dough back in, put it in a warm place and leave until it has doubled in size, which will take 1-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7. Liberally oil a large, shallow baking tin (a tray won’t do – you need sides). Tip the dough straight into the tin and spread it out with your hands to roughly fill the tin. Leave again for at least another 30 minutes, up to an hour, until it looks puffy.
In the meantime cut your cheese into chunks, you should get about 10 even sized pieces, and peel and chop your pears. I like slightly more chunks of pear than cheese here but you do what you like. Add more cheese if you want!
When the dough is ready press the cheese and pear chunks into it at evenly spaced intervals. I usually do the cheese first and then fit the pear in around it. Drizzle all over with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5 and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden. Remove the focaccia from the tin and put it to cool on a wire rack. Eat while still warm for maximum enjoyment.