Juliet cooks

Focaccia Stuffed with Wild Garlic Pesto

Focaccia Stuffed with Wild Garlic Pesto
Preparation time:
90 minutes
Cooking time:
25-30 minutes
1 loaf

There’s nothing like the taste of wild garlic, and it’s so versatile. It’s great to go and forage for it, and if you can’t find any, you can get hold of it in good supermarkets or order online. Juliet’s wild garlic stuffed focaccia is so easy to make. The hydrated dough turns out so soft and bouncy with an open crumb texture (perfect for sucking in all that olive oil!). Her wild garlic Pesto can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Cover over with extra olive oil to preserve it, or freeze it in ice cube trays, and it'll keep for months!

  • Focaccia Stuffed with Wild Garlic Pesto


     For the wild garlic pesto:
    • 100g parmesan cheese or vegetarian alternative
    • 50g toasted pine nuts
    • 150ml olive oil
    • 120g wild garlic, washed
    • Salt and pepper
    For the focaccia:
    • 500g of very strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
    • 1 x 7g dried fast action yeast or time saver yeast
    • 2 tsp fine sea salt
    • 6-7 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the tin and to serve
    • 1-2 tsp flaky sea salt
    • Polenta or semolina for the tin (optional)
    • 125g wild garlic pesto
  • Method

    To make the wild garlic pesto:
    • Place the wild garlic, cheese and pine nuts into the food processor, holding back a few pine nuts for sprinkling on your finished dish.
    • Pulse to roughly chop and mix, then pour the olive oil into the spout and blitz together for 10-15 seconds or until the desired texture is achieved.
    To make the focaccia:
    • Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix the yeast into one side of the flour and the fine salt into the other side to avoid killing the yeast, then gently mix to distribute all the powders.
    • Make a well in the middle of the flour. Mix 2 tbsp oil and about 400ml lukewarm, and then add it gradually to the flour until you have a wet and sticky dough (you may not need all the water, or perhaps you may need a little extra, all flours vary).
    • If using a stand mixer, have the dough hook fitted and knead on slow until the dough has come together, then on medium-high for about 5 minutes or so until the dough is really springy and bouncy.
    • If doing this by hand, tip the dough onto the work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until your dough is soft and less sticky. Avoid using flour for the kneading unless you have to so it doesn’t get dry. It's meant to be a very hydrated dough.
    • Once kneaded, lightly oil a clean bowl with olive oil, cover with a clean tea towel, and leave to prove for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. It'll depend on the yeast you’ve used and the room temperature you leave it in.
    • Meanwhile, oil the tin and scatter with polenta if using (this gives the base of the focaccia a lovely crunch and prevents any sticking but is optional)
    • Tip the dough out, and stretch out to a large rectangle about double the size of the tin. Lay half into the tin and spread over with the wild garlic pesto, then fold over the second half to seal in the filling. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for about another 45 minutes to an hour until puffy and risen.
    • When the dough is ready, heat the oven to 220C / 200C fan/gas 7
    • Mix 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp water and brush this over the dough. Using your fingers, push into the dough so you can feel the bottom of the tin to give you the distinctive focaccia appearance. Sprinkle over some flaky sea salt and bake for around 25-30 minutes until golden and crispy on the top and bottom
    • As soon as you get the bread out, drench when hot with more a and water about 3tbsp with 1 ½ tbsp water, whisk and liberally brush all over.
    • Leave in the tin for 5 mins, then take out of the tin and cut into squares – it’s delicious served warm, or you can have it cold with extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or use it for toasted sandwiches. It'll last for about three days if well wrapped.
  • Chef Notes

    • Why not use the pesto for an easy pasta dish? Cook trofie or penne pasta shapes for a few minutes, then add halved fine green beans to the pasta water and cook until the pasta is Al dente and the beans still have a little bite. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water when you drain the pasta, then stir in as much pesto as you like to taste, loosening with a little of the pasta stock until you have a glossy sauce coating the pasta and beans. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese and pine nuts to serve.

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