This past week my husband and I finally had the opportunity to explore our new local farmers market. It is still pretty warm in California but we have had a mix of warm days with a slight chill in the in air. As we were walking there, we both looked at each other and said, "we're ready for Fall!" Much to our surprise, there was a vendor at the farmer's market exclusively selling pears. We knew they had to be good, so we picked up a few to take home and try. The pears were incredible on their own but I wanted to try them in a new Fall recipe. This pear and walnut focaccia bread turned out incredible and it also makes your house smell exactly like Fall when it's cooking.
I found that using ripe but not overly ripened pears works best so it doesn't make the dough too soggy.
The mix of the pears, walnuts and thyme and the cinnamon sugar make for the perfect salty-sweet combination. I added some Maldon finishing salt when I took it out of the oven and it was over the top! You could certainly leave off the cinnamon sugar for a more savory bread.
Although this recipe may look fancy, it was super easy to make! I bought already prepared pizza dough from Trader's Joe's, which is a great short cut without compromising on flavor.
Making a fist, dimple the dough and sprinkle the walnuts into the indentations. Then you can layer on the thyme and pears and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar mixture.
If you want your house to smell amazing before company arrives, pop this bread into the oven a few minutes before, and you will definitely impress them when they walk in the door!
Baking it in the cast iron skillet allows you to get the most amazing golden crust without drying out the bread. The pears get slightly softened and the cinnoman sugar bakes into the dough.
You could serve it for a brunch, afternoon snack, with a bowl of soup or salad, as an appetizer or dessert. To give it more sweetness, you could add a drizzle of honey. Or, if you wanted to make it more savory, you could serve it a long with some gorgonzola or blue cheese. The possibilities are endless, and I can't wait to hear how you serve it!
Pear and Walnut Focaccia Bread Recipe
- 1 package of Trader Joe's plain pizza dough (or 1 pound of your favorite pizza dough)
- 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
- 1-2 firm but ripe pears, sliced into thin wedges (about a 1/2 inch. thick)
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cinnomon
- Sprinkle of Maldon salt
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- With slight greased hands, remove the pizza dough from the package and place it on a lightly floured surface for about 20-30 minutes.
- Lightly grease the bottom of a 9 inch cast iron skillet. Place the dough into the skillet and evenly spread it on the skillet. With light greased hands, dimple the dough creating small indentations. Place walnut pieces into the indent, then sprinkle the thyme evenly over the dough. Arrange the pears evenly over the dough.
- Combine the cinnamon and sugar, and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the pears and dough.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are crisp and the top is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature for best results.
Please note: The bread is best enjoyed right after it is baked. However, if you have leftovers, you can put it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp it up. Enjoy!