This October Elle picked a sweet savoury Fig Onion Walnut Flatbread for us Bread Baking Babes to make. As the name tells us, it is a rosemary scented flatbread topped with figs, onions and walnuts. I guess I don’t need to tell you all about how well figs and walnuts go together. Even less that figs and walnuts with caramelised onions on rosemary bread is an absolute winner.
This bread might seem a little like a fig and cheese pizza without the cheese but isnowhere near it. A lot of people tend to liken every flatbread with topping to a pizza. That’s doing them both a huge disfavour! Here, the dough is flavoured and quite different. There’s potato water (water in which potato chunks have been boiled), rosemary steeped olive oil and fresh rosemary in it. You can always use regular water instead of potato water. That works just as well.
The topping is lovely too and uses dried figs instead of fresh ones. This means you don’t have to wait till figs are in season. The figs are soaked in Marsala wine to soften them in the original recipe. I used lightly sweetened apple juice instead. Caramelised onions, walnuts, orange zest, crushed pepper and salt in the topping range zest in the topping makes for a very interesting and delicious bread with sweet and savoury flavours.
The dough is easy enough to make and needs a one hour preferment, the regular two proofs, the second one being just 15 minutes long. The recipe below makes one large flatbread or multiple smaller ones. This Fig Onion Walnut Flatbread has slightly crisp edges and beautifully soft yet slightly chewy texture.
This month’s bread recipe is adapted from Joanne Weir’s More Cooking in the Wine Country. I changed some parts of it. For one, I personally find the yeast too much in a lot of bread recipes these days. I don’t like the yeasty taste in bread, so prefer to use a little less yeast and allow it to proof a little longer which also improves flavour.
Fig Onion Walnut Flatbread
For the Dough:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
- 1/2 cup plus 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 cup lukewarm potato water or plain water
- 1 tsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp salt
For the Topping :
- 8 to 12 dried figs sliced in half
- 1 cup mildly sweet apple juice
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion sliced thin
- 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup quartered walnuts
- In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil and rosemary. Remove from the heat and let cool for I hour. Discard the rosemary sprigs. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup warm potato water. Let stand 1 hour, until it bubbles up and rises. Then add the remaining 2 cups flour, the rosemary olive oil, chopped rosemary, remaining potato water, and salt. Mix the dough thoroughly. Knead the dough on a floured board until it is soft but still moist. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning it once to cover it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place (about 75 degrees F). Let the dough rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in volume.
- In the meantime, prepare the topping. Place the figs and apple juice in a small saucepan, and heat over medium heat until the apple juice bubbles around the edges.Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour.
- Heat the 3 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and just beginning to brown. Add the orange zest, season with salt and pepper, stir thoroughly, and set aside to cool.
- Place a pizza stone on the bottom shelf of the oven, and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Form the dough into a ball or smaller balls if making mini flatbreads. Let it rest for 5 minutes. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to form a 1/2 –inch thick 9x12-inch oval. Place it on a well-floured pizza peel.
- Drain the figs and distribute the figs, onions, and walnuts evenly over the dough. Lightly press them into the dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Then transfer the flatbread to the pizza stone and bake until golden brown and crispy, 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.
The Bread Baking Babes are –