Last Thanksgiving, Ky made this delightful Pumpkin-Walnut Focaccia with Gruyere that she found in Cooking Light. I’ve been meaning to make it ever since and I finally got around to it today. In my usual fashion, I went overboard. I forgot that each recipe makes 2 loaves and I decided to triple the recipe…so I have 6 loaves on my kitchen counter as I type. Tonight we’re having this with a California Chili (recipe to come), but it’s also great for peanut butter sandwiches, dipping in soup and snacking on while it’s warm with butter.
The original recipe is posted below. In the interest of cutting some fat, I left out the cheese all-together. I think it was a bad call. It’s still tasty, but the cheese gives it a nice depth and it helps to hold the walnuts on top. Next time, I might try cutting both the cheese and walnuts in half and using the cheese only on top (to secure the walnuts)…or I will just make it as-is and revel in the treatiness of it all.
Makes 2 Loaves
3/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/4 t active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour, divided (all-purpose flour will work)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese, divided
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour and the butter – stir just until combined. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Mix in the pumpkin, salt, and nutmeg, then add 2 1/4 cups of flour and half the cheese. Stir to form a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead 8 minutes, using flour to prevent sticking. The full 8 minutes really helps the texture – check out the pictures below of before and after kneading.
Place dough in a large bowl, coat with olive oil, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch dough down, then cover and rest 5 minutes.
Divide the dough in half, shape into 2 circles and place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and nuts, pressing them lightly into the dough. Spray each with a shot of cooking spray, cover and let rise another 20 minutes.
Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes until the bottoms are browned and the cheese melts.