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James Carrier Photo by: James Carrier

Fig and Ricotta Cheese Flatbread

Notes: You can make the dough through step 2 up to 1 day ahead; punch it down, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill. Let stand at room temperature about 1 hour before proceeding with shaping (step 4).

Sunset SEPTEMBER 2002

  • Yield: Makes 4 flatbreads; about 12 appetizer or 6 main-course servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • About 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • About 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 red onions (about 1 3/4 lb. total), peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • About 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • About 2 cups (1 carton, 15 oz.) ricotta cheese
  • 1 pound firm-ripe figs, rinsed, stem ends trimmed, and halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 3 oz.), optional
  • 3 ounces arugula leaves (about 2 cups), rinsed and crisped

Preparation

1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (110°) water. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Gradually mix in 3 1/2 cups flour until a soft dough forms.

2. If using a mixer, beat with a dough hook on high speed until dough no longer feels sticky and pulls cleanly from sides of bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. If dough is still sticky, beat in more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

If kneading by hand, scrape dough onto a lightly floured board. Knead until smooth, springy, and no longer sticky, 15 to 20 minutes; add flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 35 to 45 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir onions in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until very limp, 25 to 30 minutes. If onions start to burn or stick, reduce heat and stir in 1 tablespoon water. Add balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir until liquid is evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

4. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured board; press gently to expel air. Divide into four equal pieces. Place pieces on floured board and cover with plastic wrap; let rest 10 minutes. Roll or stretch one piece at a time into a 13- by 7-inch oval about 1/16 inch thick. Place each oval on a cornmeal-dusted 12- by 15-inch rimless baking sheet; stretch dough, if needed, to reshape.

5. Arrange about 1/2 cup red onions evenly over each oval. Drop ricotta in 1/2-tablespoon portions over onions (about 12 on each oval); arrange figs, cut side up, around cheese. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons walnuts and 2 tablespoons blue cheese (if desired) evenly over each oval.

6. Bake in a 450° regular or convection oven until crust is well browned on top and bottom, 15 to 20 minutes (10 to 15 minutes in a convection oven). If baking two sheets in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Slide each flatbread onto a cutting board or plate. Mound arugula leaves equally on top; cut each oval in half lengthwise, then crosswise into eight slices. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritional analysis per appetizer serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 347
  • Calories from fat: 34%
  • Protein: 12g
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated fat: 4.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 47g
  • Fiber: 3.9g
  • Sodium: 333mg
  • Cholesterol: 23mg
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Fig and Ricotta Cheese Flatbread recipe

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