I have never been one to restrict what I eat. My love for food and cooking is the best motivator to stay active. Being pregnant forced me to alter my diet, not to limit calories but to avoid foods classified as risky because of their potential to make mothers-to-be and babies sick. I felt it was better to play it safe and follow the advice of medical professionals even though this severely restricted a favorite of mine—cheese.
I never comprehended how much cheese I consumed until I spent time reading labels to confirm ingredients were pasteurized and to judge their provenance. Now that our baby has arrived, I have been slowly reacquainting myself with the cheeses I missed. I baked a blue cheese focaccia using Gorgonzola. The subtle sweetness of pears and caramelized onions perfectly balanced the pungent cheese—it was worth the wait.
Blue Cheese Focaccia
Adapted from Food & Wine
Makes one 9×13-inch focaccia
1 cup warm water
1 package dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil plus more for oiling bowl and sheet pan
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 Bosc pear, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the water, yeast and honey. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy. Stir in 1 cup flour and let stand for an additional 5 minutes. Add the remaining flour and salt and mix on medium speed until a sticky but smooth dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and let rest for 1 hour.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 10 minutes until they start to brown. Stir in the sugar, cover the skillet and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the onions caramelize.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a 9×13-inch rectangular cake pan. Stretch the dough to fit the pan. Use your fingers to press dimples all over the dough. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Allow the dough to rise slightly, about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the onions over the focaccia and top with pear slices and blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining oil on the focaccia and bake for 20 minutes until light golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Focaccia can be served warm or at room temperature.