Easy and delicious, this aged cheddar and apple focaccia is perfect for entertaining, as it pairs beautifully with wine and is easy to grab and enjoy.
This Aged Cheddar and Apple Focaccia is one of my favourite holiday offerings. It's absolutely delicious, easy to make and goes beautifully with a glass of wine for entertaining. I think you will be amazed at how quickly it comes together. You can be enjoying this lovely focaccia warm from the oven in a little over an hour!
Cheese - Use a really great aged white cheddar cheese for this one, if you can. I love a 5-year old aged white cheddar. As there isn't a ton of cheese on this focaccia, you really want the cheese to have a lot of flavour!
Apples - A red-skinned apple will give the prettiest results. Beyond that, any apple will work here.
Thyme - Fresh thyme leaves and sprigs are a nice addition to this one, though you can use dried thyme if that's all you have on hand. Just use several pinches over the top.
- You can make this focaccia in a bowl with a spoon or in a stand mixer with a kneading hook. Either way, only add enough flour to bring the dough together. Dough may be a bit sticky-looking still, but you can add a bit more on the work surface, as needed. Dough should be moist, but should not stick to your hands.
- I used a mandolin to slice my apples super thin. I recommend that if you have one. If not, grab your sharpest knife and cut apple slices as thinly as you can. Just cut thin slices from apposite sides of the apple and stop when you reach the core. This way you'll get equally-sized slices.
- This one is best enjoyed on the day it is baked, but don't hesitate to make it several hours ahead. Let sit loosely covered at room temperature until you are ready to enjoy. If you'd like to enjoy it slightly warm, simply set on a baking sheet and pop it into a 350F oven for a few minutes.
- If you like, you can drizzle a bit of nice honey on top of this one to serve, as well.
- This focaccia should also freeze well. Thaw in its wrapping, then if you like, warm slightly on a baking sheet in a 350F. oven to "refresh".
Easy Aged Cheddar and Apple Focaccia
For greasing the pan:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
For the dough:
- 1 cup warm water, (105-115 F.)
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt, less if using fine salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, less if using dried thyme
For the topping:
- 1 cup aged white cheddar cheese, shredded, packed
- 3-4 red apples, unpeeled and thinly sliced down the sides, avoiding core
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Flaky salt
- leaves Fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking sheet with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook, combine the warm water and honey and stir well. Sprinkle in the yeast and stir. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
- Add 2 cups of the flour, the salt and thyme leaves and knead in. Continue adding the remaining flour in small increments, as needed, until dough wraps the hook (or spoon) and cleans the bowl in spots. Dough will be moist and may look a bit sticky still.
- Generously flour a work surface. Remove dough to work surface and lightly flour the top of the dough, then form in to a ball. Cover with a clean tea towel and let stand 10 minutes.
- Gently press dough in to prepared baking pan, using your fingertips to stretch and push it so it fills the entire pan. Work as gently as possible so you don't remove all the air from the dough. Cover dough with a clean tea towel and let stand 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare your apple slices. To slice, take thin slices from opposite sides of the apple, slicing from top to bottom in very thin slices and stopping when you reach the core. Discard or save remaining apple for another purpose. Set aside.
- Use your fingertips to make some indentations in the dough. Scatter dough with 1/2 of the shredded cheese. Top with sliced apples, covering most, but not all of the top surface, over-lapping slightly here and there. Place 3 thyme sprigs randomly on top of apples. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
- Bake in preheated 400F. oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter remaining cheese on top. Return to oven for a further 3-5 minutes, or until cheese has melted. If desired, pop under the oven broiler for a short time to brown cheese a bit. Remove from oven. Allow to stand a couple of minutes, then loosen from pan and slice focaccia on to a cooling rack. While warm, top with a sprinkling of flaky salt and a scattering of a few fresh thyme leaves.
- To serve, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut in to serving pieces. Drizzle with a bit of nice honey to serve, if you like.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.