It may be a little early to start thinking about the holidays, but with two party invitations having come our way in the last week alone, my brain has already started to focus on celebrations, invitations, and that most oft-repeated phrase in my personal RSVP: What can I bring?
Aside from the regular offerings of wine or beer, if time is willing (which, admittedly, it isn’t always), I like to bring a little something homemade to a party. During the full-fledged holiday season, it always seems somehow easier to come up with a proper item to bring. The holidays are a time of rejoicing and unrepentant sugar consumption, so whipping up a batch of cookies or a simple cake never seems inappropriate. But, seeing as how it’s not even Halloween yet, it feels a bit premature to start plying people with sweets already.
Last week I tried out this flatbread for a party offering, and I could not have been happier with how it turned out. I’ve made a similar sort of flatbread before, cobbled together out of a leftover bit of pizza dough and a few bits of this and that, but the end product never seemed as complete as I wanted it to be. Something was missing, I thought. Spying a basket full of apples on our kitchen counter (courtesy of a backyard tree), I was inspired to go in one of my favorite directions: to the place where savory and sweet come together in one tasty package. The savory leeks and earthy rosemary are just delightful with the addition of tender bites of apple, and when combined with creamy goat cheese on top of an olive oil-crisped dough, the result is nothing short of heavenly. It’s a good thing I was only auditioning this flatbread for a future get together. The flatbread you see in these pictures never managed to make it out of the house.
Last Year: Butternut Squash and Dry-Cured Olive Pizza with Ricotta and Chèvre. Well, look at that. The San Francisco Giants just won the World Series again (it is taking all the restraint I have just to not type that in all caps), and, in keeping with my current habit of eating black and orange foods to show my support during their postseason run, here is the very first black and orange food recipe I shared, celebrating the one year anniversary of their previous (and first ever!) World Series win.
Leek, Apple, and Rosemary Flatbread with Chèvre Recipe
This flatbread’s dough is a cinch to throw together, as it requires very little in the way of kneading, and allows time to do most of the work. The dough will need at least three hours to proof at room temperature, but, to be quite honest, the dough really shines brightest when left to proof in the refrigerator overnight. If you mix everything together before you go to bed, place it in the refrigerator, then remove the dough from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you need to use it, you’ll get the most flavorful dough possible.
For the dough:
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/3 cup bread flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon rapid-rise yeast
Stir together warm water, olive oil, and honey, then set aside. In a large bowl, combine bread flour, salt, and yeast, and stir to combine thoroughly. Using a sturdy wooden spoon or spatula, stir in water mixture until mixture comes together in a shaggy mass. With the dough still in the bowl, knead the shaggy dough for about 1 minute, until the dough comes together and starts to become smooth. Shape the dough into a ball, drizzle the bowl with a bit of olive oil, then turn the dough around in the oil to coat completely. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then leave the dough on the counter to rise for at least 3 hours (or, preferably, in the refrigerator overnight—just remember to remove the dough from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan to use it).
For the topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, white ends only, rinsed clean, sliced lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced into ¼-inch chunks
½ heaping tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces chèvre
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange an oven rack in the middle position.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add leeks, and stir to coat evenly in oil. Lower heat to medium-low and cook leeks, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, wilted, and starting to turn golden brown (about 15 minutes). Add diced apples and stir to combine. Cook until apples just begin to release a bit of their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in rosemary, add salt and pepper to taste, then remove pan from heat and set aside to cool just a bit.
Coat the bottom of a 9” by 9” baking pan with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Turn room temperature dough out into the oiled pan, and, taking your time so as not to rip the dough, gently coax the dough into a square shape, fitting the dough all along the bottom of the pan. If the dough resists all efforts to be shaped, set the pan aside for a minute or two to allow the dough to rest, then come back and resume your shaping.
When the dough has been shaped in the pan, spoon the leek and apple mixture on top of the dough, leaving a ¼-inch border along the edges of the dough. Evenly crumble the chèvre over the leek mixture. Bake flatbread in center of oven for 14-16 minutes, until the edges of the dough are crisp and dark brown, and the topping is golden.
Remove flatbread from the pan using a flexible spatula. Cool briefly on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.