Taking flavour inspiration from autumnal dishes in northern Italy, these indulgent cheesy focaccia muffins are packed with earthy flavours fit for fall.
If you read my Surf and turf in Liguria post, you’ll have heard me talking about Recco’s formidable focaccia, the Focaccia di Recco col formaggio. A thin no-yeast focaccia filled with melted creamy fresh cheese. I thought about recreating it but to be honest there only is one place you should eat this focaccia, and that’s in Recco itself. That being said, with the clocks going back and darkness starting to dominate, there’s definitely room for some sort of over indulgent cheesy focaccia to tear into and share.
And this one seems to fit the bill pretty well. A mild creamy taleggio, with layers of meaty porcini mushrooms, thyme, all wrapped in a soft focaccia and walnut dough, topped with more cheese, and baked…. have I sold it yet?
Right then – pour yourself a glass of Nebbiolo, kick back and sink your teeth in some of these!
Note: If you can’t get your hands on taleggio, then another semi-soft cheese like fontina or a port salut would also work well.
Makes 5 muffins. Prep time 35 mins; cook time 15 mins.
For the dough:
250g strong bread flour
150ml tepid water
5g dried yeast
5g fine salt
1tbsp olive oil
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
For the filling:
150g taleggio cheese
25g dried porcini mushrooms
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped
a few glugs of olive oil
Start by soaking the porcini in boiling water for 30 mins. Cover and set aside.
In a measuring jug add the water, yeast and sugar. Stir well and leave for 5 mins until it starts to foam.
In a mixer using the dough hook add the flour, salt and olive oil. On the slowest setting, pour in the yeast mixture a little at a time ensuring the dough doesn’t get too wet. Add the walnuts and mix for another 2-3 mins.
Tip the dough onto an oiled surface and kneed for another minute.
Divide into 5 equal pieces then flatten into disks roughly the size of a standard coaster.
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Now for the filling:
Drain the porcini. Add to a pan with the garlic, thyme, a few glugs of olive oil and seasoning. Cook for 2-3 mins stirring regularly and ensuring the garlic doesn’t burn.
Take out the porcini holding back the olive oil – we’ll use this to baste the focaccia.
Place an equal amount of porcini in the middle of each disk, then take 100g of taleggio and divide into 5, placing each piece over the mushrooms. Season.
Fold the edges of each disk upwards to make pouches. Seal these by twisting the top of the pouch, then pinching off a small piece.
Baste each muffin with the porcini oil ( then place in a muffin tray, ‘top’ of the pouch facing up. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove for 1hr.
Once proved , make small dimples on the top of each muffin and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Top the muffins with remaining taleggio and a with a few thyme leaves.
Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 mins, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, add a twist of pepper.
Serve warm with your favourite chutney.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!
Are you a focaccia fiend? What’s your favourite cheese or mushroom recipe? Let me know what you think