Top Chef’ Alum Sasha Grumman shows how to elevate focaccia bread

HOUSTON – You know her from season 18 of Bravo’s hit competition ‘Top Chef’ or for her famous focaccia bread which has become one of the most popular Italian delicacies in Houston.

Chef Sasha Grumman shared with Houston Life an easy recipe to turn this delicious bread into a gourmet toast perfect for brunch, snack, or dessert: Sasha’s Focaccia with cherries, figs & whipped ricotta.

Chef Sasha Grumman, Executive Chef of Sasha's Focaccia (Sasha Grumman)

Sasha will be one of the local chefs appearing on Sunday’s Chef for Paws, the annual event looking to raise critical funds for Houston’s homeless pets and support the work of the local nonprofit Rescued Pets Movement.

She is also doing a very romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner with Chef Tony Luhrman of El Topo.

“Tickets will go on sale soon! This was a true collaboration between both of us - it’s going to be delicious, don’t miss it!” she said.

To see Sacha’s complete interview and tips, watch the video above.

If you’d like to order Sasha’s focaccia, click here.

For complete instructions on how to bake focaccia bread, click here.

SASHA’S FOCACCIA WITH CHERRIES, FIGS & WHIPPED RICOTTA

RECIPE:

- ½ Slab Sasha’s Focaccia, Classic (or use 12 minis!) You can order yours, here.

- 2 T Olive Oil

For Whipped Ricotta:

- 2 C Ricotta

- ½ C Heavy Whipping Cream

- 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

- TT Salt & Pepper

For Fruit & Topping:

- ½ C Fig Jam

- 1 C Cherries, Pitted

- 1 C Figs, Cut in Half & Roasted

- 2 T Butter

- ½ C Pistachios, Roasted and Chopped

- 2 T Bee 2 Bee Lavender Honey

- 1 T Maldon Salt

- 1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Tools Needed:

- Stand Mixer with Whisk Attachment or Mixing Bowl and Whisk

- Cookie Tray

- Piping Bags or a Gallon Ziplock

- Cast Iron pan or a good roasting pan

- Platter

PROCEDURE:

1. Preheat your oven to 425 F & place your frozen focaccia directly onto the cookie sheet

a. no parchment/wax paper or oil is needed

2. For the ricotta, using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add the ricotta, cream, olive oil, and salt and pepper

3. Mix on medium-high speed until all ingredients are well incorporated and you don’t see any lumps – about 3 minutes

a. The mixture should be light and fluffy

b. Add the whipped ricotta to your piping bag and reserve it in the fridge

4. Cut the cherries in half and remove pits and reserve

5. Cut the figs in half and cut them in half

a. Using your cast iron, turn the heat to medium-high and add the butter to pan

b. Add your figs cut side down and roast until golden on the cut side

c. Reserve figs, cut side facing up

6. Once your oven has preheated, place the sheet tray with focaccia into the oven

7. Bake focaccia until the outside is crispy – about 18-25 minutes***

a. ***if your oven has a fan, please check focaccia after 8 minutes

To Build Your Toast:

1. Cut your focaccia into 1 finger-width slices & cut those slices in half

2. Rub slices with olive oil on one of the cut sides and place in oven until golden

3. Spread fig jam on your toasted focaccia

4. Cut the tip of your whipped ricotta piping bag and decorate your slices with ricotta

5. Garnish your topped toasts with cherries, figs, chopped pistachios & honey

6. Finish with a little Maldon sea salt and olive oil and plate on your favorite platter

7. Enjoy!

Recipe provided by Chef Sasha Grumman.


About the Author:

Beatriz is a producer for Houston life. She’s a dog mom who enjoys traveling and eating her way through new cities and cultures.