A few days ago I received a text from my local deli shop, Provender Brown, announcing that my special order has been delivered … the crescenza. This fresh and creamy cheese is known in Italy as crescenza or stracchino and has a flavour and consistency like no other.
Now that I’m on holiday I have more time to cook and bake so I decided to use some of this very precious cheese, precious as it’s usually quite difficult to find, to make a focaccia.
This recipe is a traditional focaccia from the Ligurian town of Recco, although it’s made with few ingredients, the distinguished flavour of the crescenza and the best extra-virgin olive oil I could find (thanks to Aldi) make this simple dish heavenly flavourful. Perfect with a salad on a sunny day.
As the dough doesn’t have any yeast the result is a crispy shell with a gooey and cheesy centre that it’s just perfect. Also, there is no need to prove the dough so it’s ready in no time. Buon appetito!
500 grams of Crescenza cheese or Stracchino cheese
25 grams of extra virgin olive oil
5 grams of salt
125 grams of water
extra virgin olive oil to glaze the top
Place the flour in a large bowl, add the salt to the flour, mix and form a well in the middle. Next, drizzle the extra virgin olive oil and add enough cold water to the flour’s well to make a soft, smooth dough by mixing everything together.
Once the dough has come together, start kneading it with your hands for a few minutes. Next, cover it and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
Once the dough has rested, divide it into two equal parts. Then take one part at a time and stretch it out to make a sheet as thin as possible, almost transparent. The size of the sheet will depend on the size of your baking tray.
Grease your baking tray with extra virgin olive oil and lay one of the layers of dough on the tray.
Add the Cresenza or Stracchino cheese by dicing it into pieces and dotting it around the sheet of dough. Then cover the dotted cheese with the second sheet of dough and seal the edges by crumping them tightly.
Brush some extra virgin olive oil over the top layer of dough and lightly sprinkle with some salt. Lastly, pinch holes into the dough above the cheese pieces to allow steam to come out during baking.
Bake it in a very hot oven, about 240°C but if your oven does not go as high just put it to its highest setting.
The focaccia should be in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until it gets golden brown.