Sweet Potato Focaccia

Posted on December 24, 2010

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The Christmas buffet spread is a thing of wonder! Juicy, salty ham, creamy cheese and sweet chutney served alongside yule log and wedges of fruit cake. I could happily graze on such a spread every day, but would clearly end up looking like Mrs Clause!

If you have a little time to spend beavering away in the kitchen over Christmas and a hungry group of people to feed, I can highly recommend this focaccia as a staple part of any buffet.

It takes a little time to go through all the rising processes and you’ll benefit enormously from having a mixer with a dough hook to speed things up and keep mess to a minimum but, that aside, it’s pretty easy to make this delicious bread.

If you’ve not got any gouda cheese in the house, I suggest using a mature cheddar. Alternatively, you could play around with this by adding parma ham and gorgonzola in place of the sweet potato and gouda.

There are always plently of left-over bits and bobs at Christmas so use what you’ve got spare (as long as the flavours go together of course!).

Sweet Potato Focaccia

2 sachets of dry yeast (14g), 2 tsps sugar, 300ml warm water, 3 tsp olive oil (plus extra for drizzling), 1 tsp coarse salt (plus extra for final seasoning), 390g plain flour, 150g gouda (grated), 100g walnuts, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp honey

Start by slicing your sweet potatoes and drizzling over honey and olive oil. Roast these in the oven (180c/GM4) for about 20 minutes until the edges start to brown and then leave to cool (if you’re good at multi-tasking, you can do this stage at the same time as the dough is rising). Next, stir the yeast, sugar and warm water in the bowl of the food mixer and leave for 5 minutes until frothy. Add the oil, flour and salt to the yeast mix and knead with the dough hook on a medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to high and continue the kneading for another 5 minutes until dough is smooth (it will still look sticky). Pour into an oiled mixing bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (about 20 minutes). Oil a baking tray and stretch dough out to fill it (be patient and gentle and it will spread!). Cover with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to double in size (about 20 minutes). Preheat oven to 180c/GM4. Remove the film from to dough and drizzle over more oil followed by the scattering of the cheese, sweet potato and walnuts on top. Season and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Makes 12 small squares. Best served warm. Can be wrapped in foil and frozen.

Helen x

NB – if you haven’t got a mixer, you’ll need to knead this by head until your dough is smooth, stretchy and flexible.

Recipe adapted from www.marthastewart.com

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