Crispy and crunchy on the outside, and soft, pillowy, and chewy on the inside, this week's new recipe is a delicious kale and ricotta focaccia with chili and honey. The toppings are loaded with flavour and texture: garlicky kale, creamy ricotta, all drizzled with honey post-baking, achieving the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy. You'll definitely want to try this one.
The key to achieving a moist and chewy dough lies in allowing it to rise overnight in the fridge, followed by a second rise for 2 hours at room temperature just before baking. While there isn't a lot of hands-on time involved, a bit of foresight to prepare it in advance is needed.
For optimal results, using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment is recommended for kneading the dough. Alternatively, kneading by hand in a large bowl with a wooden spoon is possible, albeit requiring a bit more effort. The dough's consistency is quite wet, so it's essential to knead it with a spoon in a bowl, emulating similar motions to a stand mixer. Avoid adding extra flour, as this can alter the final outcome.
I hope you love the recipe, and please let me know if you have any questions.
- 460g (2 cups) warm water
- 4g (1 teaspoon) granulated (raw or raw castor) sugar
- 8g (2 teaspoon) dry active yeast
- 500g (4 cups) plain/all-purpose flour
- 10g (2 teaspoons) kosher salt/flaky salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small bunch kale (curly or Tuscan), stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 450g fresh ricotta
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes or pinch of chili flakes, to taste
- 3 tablespoons honey, for drizzling
- Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water, sugar, and dry active yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add flour and salt, then mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour.
- Knead the dough using the stand mixer with the dough hook on medium speed for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Note: Alternatively, knead the dough by hand in a large bowl using a wooden spoon.
- Drizzle olive oil in a large bowl and spread it around to coat the inside. Add the dough, cover, and place in the fridge to rise overnight or for up to 36 hours.
- Grease a 9x13 inch (23x33cm) brownie tin with olive oil.
- Remove the risen dough from the fridge and transfer it to the greased brownie tin, stretching it out evenly. Allow it to rise for 2 hours.
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and kale, sauté until kale is vibrant green and just wilted. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F.
- Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the risen dough. Press into the dough to create deep dimples over its entire surface.
- Spread 2/3 of the sautéed kale mixture over the dough. Crumble fresh ricotta on top, then add the remaining kale. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper flakes or chili flakes and sea salt.
- Bake at 220°C/430°F for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey while still hot. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Dough Consistency: The focaccia dough will be wet and sticky, which is normal. Avoid adding extra flour during kneading or shaping as this can affect the final texture of the focaccia.
- Rising Time: The dough requires an overnight rise in the refrigerator, followed by a second rise of 2 hours at room temperature. Ensure the dough roughly doubles in size during both rising periods for the best results.
- Alternative Kneading Method: If you prefer not to use a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand in a large bowl using a wooden spoon. This may require a bit more effort due to the sticky nature of the dough.
- Toppings Preparation: Allow the sautéed kale mixture to cool before spreading it on the dough to prevent it from heating the dough excessively.
- Baking Temperature and Time: Preheat the oven to 220°C/430°F and position the rack in the center. Bake the focaccia for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Keep an eye on it towards the end of the baking time to prevent over-browning.
- Resting Time: Allow the baked focaccia to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the flavors to meld and prevents the cheese from being too hot to handle.
- Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a toaster oven or warm oven before serving to revive the crispness of the crust.
- Serving Suggestions: Enjoy the focaccia as a standalone snack, appetizer, or alongside soups, salads, or pasta dishes, or slow-cooked meats for a delicious meal.