Theo Randall’s focaccia with pesto and vine tomatoes

Theo Randall’s focaccia with pesto and vine tomatoes
  • Serves icon Serves 10
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 30 min, plus rising and proving

This fluffy focaccia recipe, made with vine tomatoes and fresh pesto, is a staple in Theo’s restaurant at the InterContinental London Park Lane.

Theo says: “We make this focaccia in the restaurant, baking it in a convection oven with a little steam, which helps the bread to rise. For a similar effect at home, put a baking tray of hot water on the bottom of the oven as it heats up.”

Fancy something else? How about our spring onion focaccia?

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
391kcals
Fat
20g (4g saturated)
Protein
11.9g
Carbohydrates
39.6g (1.3g sugars)
Fibre
2.2g
Salt
1.2g
Calories
391kcals
Fat
20g (4g saturated)
Protein
11.9g
Carbohydrates
39.6g (1.3g sugars)
Fibre
2.2g
Salt
1.2g

Ingredients

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 50g semolina, plus extra to dust
  • 20g fresh yeast (or 7g fast-action dried yeast)
  • Pinch caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 250-275ml lukewarm water
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, on the vine
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Chopped fresh rosemary

For the pesto 

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 150g fresh basil leaves
  • 75g pine nuts
  • 100g parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative), grated
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. Combine the flour and semolina in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl mix the yeast with the sugar. Add the salt, olive oil and 250ml warm water to the yeast and sugar and mix well.
  2. Tip the yeast mixture into the flour and stir to bring the dough together, adding an extra 2-3 tbsp water if it’s dry. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is soft but not sticky and springs back to the touch. (You can also do this in a food mixer fitted with a dough hook; it will take 5 minutes.)
  3. Shape the dough into a ball in the bowl, cover the top with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  4. Meanwhile make the pesto. Put all the pesto ingredients in a small food processor and whizz to a rough paste (or use a pestle and mortar or chop finely by hand). Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill until ready to use.
  5. Oil a baking sheet and dust with semolina. Don’t knock back the dough; carefully pour it onto the baking sheet and shape into a rough rectangle or oval about 2cm thick. Poke indentations all over the dough with your fingertips, then arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes and rosemary. Leave to prove (rise) in a warm place for 10-15 minutes. Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7 (see Theo’s introduction).
  6. Bake the focaccia for 20-25 minutes until golden brown; it should sound hollow when tapped on the base. Drizzle with more olive oil, then leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

delicious. tips

  1. The pesto can be made ahead and kept in a tub in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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