Orange and Cranberry Sweet Focaccia
I love breads, they are my guilty pleasures. The savory ones to be had with soups and salads, with curries and eggs, the sweet ones to be had with teas and more. I can live on bread and if you want to torture me one thing you can take away from me is the bread. They are also one of my favorite things to bake, the kneading, the aromas. Sigh everything feels all right when there is bread around.
Sweet Focaccia's though not very common are a delightfully surprisingly tea time treats of a light desserts at the end of a hearty meal. Mildly sweet, they are very common in Italy and can be a star of your party table this holiday season.
- To make the sponge : Place the warm water and sugar in a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to form a soft dough. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap or a plate and let it stand till bubbly and the quantity is doubled. This should take about 45 minutes
- To make the dough : Whisk the yeast into the warm water in a large mixing bowl, stir in the olive oil and beat in the sponge. If you are making the dough by hand, add the sugar and salt in the mixture and stir in. Now add the flour in three batches and mix well till it starts forming a dough.
- Bring this dough out on a clean kitchen counter and knead well for 10 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can also make the dough using a kitchen-aid (or similar) stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to mix together the sugar, salt and yeast mixture and 1 cup of flour. When mixed, add the rest of the dough and change to the dough hook and knead for 4-5 minutes
- Place the lightly oiled dough covered with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise till double for about 1 to 1.5 hours.
- While the dough is rising, soak the cranberries in Cointreau (use orange juice if you don't want alcohol) and keep aside.
- When the dough is double, divide it in three equal parts, Using a rolling pin, roll out each of it to a 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. You can bake these as free form breads on parchment paper or pizza stone or move them to your round cake tins. Cover the bread for a damp kitchen towel and let it raise for 30 minutes.
- While the bread dough is raising, pre heat the oven to 200C for about 20-25 minutes.
- When the bread is ready for baking, arrange the sliced oranges in a circle and spread the cranberries in the empty places, press both the oranges and cranberries a bit, drizzle the left Cointreau syrup on top.
- Bake the breads for about 15-18 minutes till slightly browned. Serve warm or cold.
- You can store this cling wrapped or in an air tight container for 3 days though its best eaten the same day