Finally, It’s Spring! Celebrate the Warm-up with This Yummy Work of Art
It’s never too soon to start planning for spring gatherings. Flowers and trees are blooming, the grass is greening, and the sky is bright. Time to eat fun, light food! This Garden Focaccia with fresh Cosmic Crisp® apples and herbs will wow your guests or perk up your weekend dinner. Looking at it makes the heart sing, but it tastes even better. Added bonus: decorating this beauty will make you feel like you’re already out in the garden!
The secret to its success is the hottest thing since sliced bread: a new apple variety—20 years in the making—that is naturally slow to brown: the Cosmic Crisp®. That this flesh stays white even after slicing means this platter will look as good when you’re diving in as it did while you were slicing these exceptionally sweet, juicy and crispy apples.
Cosmic Crisp® Garden Focaccia
1¾ cups (425 mL) warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
5 cups (1.25 L) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) grated Cosmic Crisp®, excess water removed
1 tbsp (15 mL) kosher salt
1 cup (250 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Assorted Cosmic Crisp® apple slices (see directions below)
A few green onions with green stems
Fresh herbs, such sorrel, thyme, chives and dill
Flaky salt, for sprinkling
In a small bowl, combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbling and aromatic.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, grated apple, salt, ½ cup (125 mL) of the olive oil and the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed. Once the dough comes together, continue to mix for 5 minutes on medium speed until mixture is smooth and soft.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand 3-4 times. Coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
Coat an 11 x 17-inch (28 x 43 cm) sheet pan with a quarter cup (60 mL) of olive oil and place the dough in the pan. Press the dough out to the edges. Flip the dough, coat the other side with the remaining quarter cup (60 mL) of olive oil, and continue to stretch the dough to fill the pan by pushing your fingers into the dough to make divots.
Place the pan in a warm place until doubled in size for a second time, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).
Decorate the focaccia with apple slices and herbs (see tips below) then sprinkle with flaky salt and drizzle with olive oil. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares. Serve warm.
To make the Cosmic Crisp® Garden Focaccia even more beautiful, here are some ideas:
Slice off the side of a Cosmic Crisp® about ½-inch (1 cm) thick. Place skin-side up at the bottom of the focaccia to make a flowerpot. Slice another Cosmic Crisp® vertically through the centre about ¼-inch (0.5 cm) thick to create tulip-like flowers. Arrange the green onions so they are coming out of the pot to form flower stems. Place one slice of Cosmic Crisp® at the end of each stem to finish the tulip.
Cut a Cosmic Crisp® through the centre and cut slices about ¼-inch (0.5 cm) thick. Using an apple blossom cookie cutter, press into each slice to create a flower. Place at the top end of the green onions on the focaccia.
Make Cosmic Crisp® blossoms by overlapping very thin slices of Cosmic Crisp and carefully bending into a circle. Insert a toothpick thorough the blossom to secure. Arrange on the focaccia as desired.
The Cosmic Crisp® was classically bred by Washington State University tree fruit breeders to ensure this apple is naturally delicious and non-GMO. They are orchard-grown only in Washington state near the ideal apple-growing climate of the Columbia River.
They’re great for cooking and baking, due to their sweetness and crispy texture. Also, Cosmic Crisps® are a cook’s best friend because you can slice and chop them before you start cooking and baking and they’ll be beautiful when it comes time to add them to your recipe.
These crispy, juicy, sweet apples are available across Canada at most major retailers. If you don’t see them, just ask for directions to the Cosmic Crisp® display.
Like this recipe? Visit the Inspiration page at CosmicCrisp.com for great apple snacking ideas and so much more.