This fig rosemary focaccia with honey glaze walks the line between savory and sweet, making it great for dessert or perfect to serve with coffee or tea!
This post was sponsored by California Grown. I was compensated for this post and developing this recipe. However, all opinions below are my own.
San Francisco weather is different than the rest of the country as we rarely get super cold or super hot. For me, the changing of the seasons usually is marked more by what produce I can get at the grocery store and the farmers market. California, as most folks know, is an ideal climate for growing fruit and vegetables. It grows a third of the vegetables for the entire nation, and two thirds of the fruits and nuts for the US! Local berries and stone fruit at the store means its summertime here in SF. Citrus means wintertime. But as the days go by and figs start to appear, I know late summer and early fall is starting to creep up.
I absolutely adore adding dried figs to some of my baked goods like my fig and hazelnut scone and apple and fig cobbler. When California Grown reached out to me about partnering together to make a recipe featuring figs, I knew I wanted to try something different! This fresh California fig focaccia with honey and rosemary walks that line of crunchy and soft, as well as sweet and savory.
What is focaccia?
Focaccia is an Italian flat bread that is often associated or confused with pizza. But focaccia dough is different than pizza dough, especially the recipe I am sharing here, which uses a mashed russet potato in the dough.
If you’ve never had a focaccia, think of it is a slab of herb bread, comparable to a thick crust or deep dish pizza, without the sauce or pizza toppings. Though focaccia can come in a variety of styles, from thin to thick, most focaccia is more bread than topping, without any sauce on top. One of the most common types of focaccia is often topped just with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and some rosemary.
Though most focaccia is savory, this particular focaccia veers toward the sweet side of things with fresh meaty figs topped over the soft bread. A generous brushing for honey, lemon juice and zest, as well as fresh rosemary gives the bread a sweet savory touch.
How do you make a fig focaccia?
To make this focaccia, a small baking potato is peeled, quartered and simmered in water until soft. The potato is then mashed, and the remaining potato water is mixed with yeast. Knead together with flour, olive oil, honey, and salt until a nice soft dough is formed.
Cover and let the dough rise until double, then dump it into a well-oiled 10-inch springform pan. Press the dough out to cover the bottom of the pan with your fingers. Let the dough rise again until double and puffy.
Quarter the figs and press them into the puffy dough. Then brush a mixture of honey, lemon juice, lemon zest and fresh rosemary all over the top of the dough. Bake and serve!
Why do you use potato in the focaccia bread?
There are plenty of focaccia bread recipes out there without potato in the dough, but the addition of the potato creates a wonderful soft dough that will rise higher. It’s a traditional method that is used in the Puglia region of Italy.
Adding potato to the dough lowers the gluten content, meaning the dough will be more soft, tender and less chewy. The potato is high in starch, which swells when it is cooked. This starch also holds onto water, which leads to a moister bread.
The potato itself also adds additional flavor because it ferments faster than regular flour while the sugars in the potato don’t get consumed as fast by the yeast, leading to a slightly sweeter more complex flavored focaccia.
When are figs in season?
Dried figs are available all year round, but fresh figs are only available in the summertime into the autumn months. California grows 98% of the commercially sold fresh figs sold here in the United States and they start popping up as early as mid-May at stores. But they become more common to find at the stores starting in July through November. You can find more details about when figs are in season, as well as what California fruits and vegetables are in season and when over at the California Grown website.
Where can I buy figs?
You can find fresh figs at most major grocery stores in the produce section. Look for dried figs throughout the produce aisle or in the snacking aisle, along with other dried fruit.
What sort of figs should you use for this focaccia?
Fresh figs come in a number of varieties. I’ve used Mission figs here, which are dark brown fig that have a “meaty” flavor. But you can use any type of fig that you like. The ones I find the most at my local stores include the Mission figs which I used, the Brown Turkey fig and the Tiger Stripe fig.
Brown Turkey figs have a rich sweet, almost nutty flavor, while Tiger Stripe figs have a striking green and yellow striped skin with a vibrant red inside with a sweet, almost raspberry jam flavor. Other fresh figs available include Kadota, Sierra, and Calmyrna figs. You can learn more about fresh figs and the different varieties at the California Fig website.
Of course, if you have a favorite type of fresh fig, feel free to use it in this recipe, as all fresh figs work well in this focaccia! If you are looking for more information on buying California produce like fresh figs, check out the California Grown website on how to support the California Farmers.
How long do fresh figs last?
Fresh figs are highly perishable. Use the figs 5 to 7 days after purchasing them. Store them in a very cold refrigerator, ideally somewhere between 32°F and 37°F.
Or you can save the fresh figs by just popping them in the freezer! Stored in a heavy-duty freezer bag, fresh figs will last about 9 to 12 months frozen.
Can I substitute dried figs for fresh figs?
Thankfully, even though fresh fig season is very seasonal, dried figs are available all year round! And yes, they can be substituted in this recipe. You can either use them directly as dried figs or you can plump them up first by simmering them in white wine for 15 minutes before adding them to the focaccia.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! You can substitute instant or rapid rise yeast. Just use the same amount as the active dry yeast, but keep in mind that the dough will rise faster than if you had used the active dry yeast.
If you use instant yeast, you do not have to dissolve the yeast in the potato water. You can directly add the yeast in when you add the flour and other dry ingredients.
Focaccia keeps for about 2 days. Just store it in an airtight container or resealable Ziploc bag at room temperature. Refresh it in the toaster oven or regular oven at 325°F for 5 minutes.
Yes, you can totally freeze this bread! When I bake up a big batch of focaccia, I usually can’t eat it all. I freeze any remaining leftovers in a heavy duty resealable Ziploc bag for up to 3 months. Just thaw it out at room temperature, or in the toaster oven or regular oven at 325°F for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Yes! The instructions in the recipe are for using a stand mixer, but you can hand knead the dough if you wish. Just mix the dough ingredients in a large bowl using a wooden spoon. When a rough dough forms, dump the dough and any dry loose bits onto a clean surface. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand for about 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic. Then proceed with the recipe.
If you like this focaccia recipe, check out some other bread recipes:
- Potato Rolls
- Apricot Yeast Bread
- Pretzel Shakshuka
- Homemade Rye Soft Pretzels
- Rosemary Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls
- Easy Pizza Dough
Fig Rosemary Focaccia with Honey Lemon Glaze
- 1 small russet potato 4 to 5 ounces or 115 to 140 g
- 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 280 g
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 to 5 fresh figs 7 to 9 ounces or 200 g to 255 g
- 3 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary from 2 medium sprigs, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Peel and cut the potato into quarters. Place the potato quarters in a medium-sized sauce pan and cover with water, making sure the water is about an inch above the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook the potato for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a fork easily inserts into the potato. Mash the potatoes or press them through a ricer into the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment
- Measure out 1/2 cup of the potato water, discarding the rest. If you don’t have enough water, add additional warm water from the tap until you do. Let the water cool to a lukewarm temperature (90 to 100°F). Once cool, dissolve the yeast in the measure cup with the warm potato water.
- Add the flour, olive oil, honey, and salt to the bowl with the mashed potatoes, then pour in the yeasty potato water.
- Stir slowly with dough hook, increasing speed as the flour is absorbed into the wet ingredients. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed once the dough has started to form and knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Spray or oil a large bowl with olive oil. Pull the dough into a ball by stretching the sides of the dough until one side is smooth. Place the rough side down into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until double in size, about an hour.
- Once the dough has doubled, place a 10-inch springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle and brush the olive oil all over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. If your springform pan doesn’t seal tightly, cover the bottom with aluminum foil. Dump the dough directly into the oiled springform pan and press down with your fingertips to push the dough out and to the sides, making sure the dough is evenly distributed in the pan. Don’t worry if there are lumps or bumps when pushing the dough with your fingers. Cover again with the plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and double in size, about 30 to 40 minutes. Once the dough is ready, preheat an oven to 400°F.
- Trim the figs of their hard tips, and then quarter them lengthwise. Press the figs deep into the focaccia dough all over.
- Combine the honey, lemon juice, rosemary, lemon zest and salt in a medium sized bowl or glass measuring glass. Brush the liquid all over the top of the focaccia, making sure to use all the liquid. It will seem like a lot, but it will be absorbed as it bakes. Make sure all the rosemary leaves are distributed over the dough.
- Bake in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. If you have an instant read thermometer, the inside of the focaccia should read 200°F. Immediately run a thin knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the focaccia from the sides. Then let the focaccia cool for 15 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan and removing it. Serve warm or at room temperature.