Fougasse Bread, Blue Cheese and Onion Filling

A bread filled with caramelized onions, walnuts and blue cheese. Served warm, cheese is soft and melting. You should try for an appetizer or as a starter.

A fougasse is a typical bread of South France (especially Provence). Either a kind of plain bread, shaped into a pattern resembling an ear of wheat, that replaces a baguette, or with all kind of fillings. Then it’s eaten at any time of the day but it’s indeed ideal for appetizers. And you must know that the French just love to grab all kind of delights at l’apéro.

This recipe can also be propose as a starter with green salad. Or served at picnics.

A few information:

I used here Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese as I created this recipe for a cood contest organized by Fourme d’Ambert (and the jury actually liked it as I won and will be heading next spring to the Center of France to discover the region and its delights!). But you may replace Fourme d’Ambert by the blue cheese of your choice, preferably a creamy cheese rather that a strong one such as Roquefort. Why not with Stilton!
Walnuts are great, bringing a crunchy texture but it can be an option
For the fougasse dough, it’s made with olive oil as I told you it’s a south France specialty. But you can replace by your habitual bread preparation or even pizza crust. As you’ll see on the photos, I didn’t make the classic ear of wheat shape because I didn’t want melting cheese to run away from holes or to have too small parts sith more bread than feeling.

Preparation time: 20 minutes (rest about 1 hour)
Cooking time: 10 /15+ 20 min
Quantity: 6 people
Specific equipment: food processor

250 gr flour
150 ml water
5 gr salt
50 ml olive oil
12 gr dried bread yeast (or half if) yeast is fresh

2 to 3 large onions
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
60 to 80 gr Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese
75 ml of cream
5 to 8 walnuts

1 beaten egg or cream for gilding

Prepare the fougasse dough, let it rise. Heat the cream and dissolve the blue cheese inside et let it cool down. Pan fry onions onions. Then assemble and bake.

Start by making the fougasse dough.
Mix the yeast with warm water (not too hot though). Then add all the ingredients and knead in a food processor at medium speed for a few minutes. Reserve in a warm place covered with humid cloth and let it rise for at least 30 min to 1 hour (for example a warm part in the house or the oven at 30 °C).
If you use a Magimix CookExpert: Water + yeast with the bread / brioche program. When the program stops, add all the ingredients and press auto. I like restart the program a second time.

Meanwhile prepare the filling:
Heat olive oil in a frying pan and sliced onions and fry. Add salt and pepper. Fry until onions become translucent. I like them to cook long so that they become almost caramelized then sooo tasty! (as in mu caramelized onions recipe but it’s not necessary).
Heat the cream in a pan, add 25 gr of blue cheese cut into small pieces and mix until it melts and you obtain a cream more or less homogeneous. Let the cream set in the fridge, it will solidify a little bit.

Assemble the fougasse:
Preheat your oven to 220 °C. Spread the dough on the baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover the central part with blue cheese cream. Arrange walnuts (each walnut cut into 4 to 8), onions and cubes of the remaining Fourme d’Ambert. More or less depending on your taste.
Fold the sides of the dough to form a kind of flattened loaf. Brush with fresh cream or a beaten egg for a nice golden brown fougasse.

Bake for about 20 minutes until bread dough is cooked. Ideally serve warm

Bon appétit!