Za’atar is an oriental spice mixture and there are regional variations. I have a Palestinian Za’atar made of sesame, salt, sumach and wild thyme, that I discovered at the veggie fair in Cologne this spring.
Also I enjoyed an amazing Za’atar focaccia in Tel Aviv a while ago and with all these beautiful pumpkins now that made a great combination. It’s actually my new favourite food!
Ingredients for the Focaccia
about 1/2 Hokkaido pumpkin
3 cups flour (360 g)
1 sachet of dry yeast (about two teaspoons)
2/3 cup lukewarm water (160 ml)
1 tablespoon Za’atar
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil (120 ml)
1 teaspoon sea salt
more sea salt, olive oil and Za’atar to sprinkle
How to make the focaccia
Wash and open pumpkin. You only need about half of it, unless the pumpkin is very small. Cut a few thin slices off for decoration and chop up the rest, that works best in a mini food processor*.
Combine flour and dry yeast in a bowl, then add chopped pumpkin, chia seeds, Za’atar, salt, olive oil and water. Knead for 10 minutes.
Pour a little olive oil into a big bowl and on your hands to avoid the dough from sticking and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise for about one hour in a warm place, for example the warm oven. Around 30°C/ 85°F is a good temperature.
After one hour, the dough should have doubled. Punch it to remove the air, then knead again with oiled hands and form one big focaccia.
Spread it on parchment paper and sprinkle with Za’atar and sea salt. Add the pumpkin slices. Sprinkle with a little more olive oil and poke holes into the focaccia with your fingers to create pools for the oil and the spices.
Let it rest another 20-30 minutes and preheat your oven in the meantime to 210°C/ 410°F.
Then bake for 20-25 minutes. I put my focaccia on my pizza stone* with the parchment paper, that makes it easy and super crispy, but if you don’t have a pizza stone a baking sheet will be fine too.
Once it’s ready, sprinkle with a little more olive oil and cut into pieces, I find it easiest with a pizza cutter*.
This is a perfect food to take with you when traveling. I actually like my focaccia best the next morning for breakfast roasted in a skillet.
A nice variation of this dish that I tried the other day and that came out very tasty: replace the Za’atar with a Moroccan tajine seasoning and sprinkle the focaccia with salt and black sesame. That creates a slightly sweet oriental taste.
Have you made the Focaccia? I would love to see your picture on Instagram @flymetotheveganbuffet or #flymetotheveganbuffet.
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