Monday, April 9, 2012

Sweet Potato Focaccia - Peasant Style!

I had left over roasted sweet potato lying in the fridge and I wanted to make good use of it. The thought of making chaat or eating it with sprinkled cinnamon, brown sugar/honey was not appealing. The other day I made flat bread (rotis) out of it and enjoyed eating them all myself. But this time I thought that the kids who are always picky and have canadian taste buds wouldn't like it. So I finally embarked on the idea of trying foccaccia with roasted sweet potato and fresh rosemary. I imagined the taste in my mind - the sweet foccaccia bread with the rosemary flavour combined with fresh vegetable toppings - will definitely be a success! So I tweaked my recipe for regular foccaccia a bit by adding egg and increasing the flour quantity and lo and behold, it worked out very well.

All purpose flour -4- 41/2 cups
Quick rising yeast- 1 tblspn
Lukewarm water - 3/4 cup
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Egg - 1
Sweet potatoes - 1 medium size
Olive oil - 4 tblspns
Green &; red peppers - 1 each
White button mushrooms - 6
Red onions - 1/4 cup sliced
Green / Black olives - optional
Tomatoes - 1 diced
Fresh rosemary herb - 1 small strand (can be substituted with basil/oregano)
Mozzarella/cheddar cheese - optional

Roast the Sweet potatoes in a baking pan at 400 degrees fahrenheit in a preheated oven for 1/2 an hr to 45 mins till they are tender. Poke them with a knife before keeping them in the oven otherwise they burst when overdone and are left in the oven unattended. Peel them when they cool down, mash well and set them aside.

 Take a cup of water and warm it in the microwave for 40 seconds. It should be lukewarm to touch. Add 1 tblspn yeast and 1/2 tspn sugar, mix well and leave it to rise - 5 mins. Meanwhile put 3 cups of flour in  the food processor, add salt and pulse it till it mixes well. Now add the egg, mashed sweet potatoes and pulse again, followed by the yeast solution. Keep pulsing at short intervals till the dough is formed. Now add 1 tblspn olive oil to it and pulse more till the dough starts spinning. This means the dough consistency is reached. The dough starts spinning when it is elastic. we need an elastic kind of dough to get a spongy texture in the foccaccia. At this stage remove the dough from the processor, roll it in the shape of a ball and put it in a greased container, cover it with plastic wrap or a plate and let it rise for 45 mins to 1 hr. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit. When the dough doubles in size, take it and put it on a greased pizza pan without punching or flattening it. Now start working on it from the sides by pressing it with your fingers and spreading it  like a pizza bread. The dough is so spongy that you can dig your fingers into it and make impressions like tiny craters. Sprinkle the remaining olive oil generously so that it fills the little craters.

Dust with dried oregano and basil, then spread all the cut vegetables on top. Press them a bit and bake in the second position in the oven for 15-20 mins till it crisp on the bottom and very lightly golden on top. You may add cheese towards the end. Just wait for the cheese to melt and remove. Cut them into wedges or squares and serve hot. It is very filling and nutritious. Enjoy!