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Give your visitors an unexpected treat this Easter by making your own stuffed focaccia in the classic Italian style. The smell of baking alone will be worth the extra effort. Buon appetito! This rich bread recipe, focaccia farcita, comes from the Ligurian region of Italy. It is made with a starter - a loose batter of yeast, flour and water, which is left to ferment for 12-16 hours. It is worth taking the time to do this because the starter gives the bread its wonderfully open, airy texture and distinctive aroma. The filling can be changed to include other vegetables and cheeses (see Cook's tips, below).
You can find Italian Mountain Gorgonzola at the Waitrose cheese service counter.
To make the bread in advance, prepare until the end of step 8, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for up to 3 hours. Then remove from the fridge and follow from step 9.
To make individual focaccias, follow the recipe to the end of step 5, then divide the dough into 8 rounds and roll each piece out to 15cm diameter. Continue following the recipe and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Cool and drizzle with the remaining extra virgin olive oil. Makes: 4 focaccias.
For an alternative taste, try using 2 x 125g packs Galbani Italian Mozzarella and a 200g tub of Waitrose Grilled Red and Yellow Peppers (from the chiller cabinet), instead. Just slice and arrange the mozzarella and the peppers (reserve the oil) on the rolled dough base, season and scatter with fresh basil leaves. Place the second half of the dough on top and seal gently. Bake as above, then drizzle with olive oil when cooked. When cooled drizzle with the oil from the peppers, garnish with chopped rosemary sprigs and sprinkle with sea salt.
This recipe was first published in March 2002.