Halloween Pumpkin Fougasse

Fougasse is a type of French bread that is typically associated with Provence. This became a diverse range of breads that include focaccia in Italian cuisine. Here is Lynn Clark's version that has been sculpted into a spooky pattern for a Halloween special.
Serves: 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes prep + 1 hour 15 minutes (rising & proving)
Cooking time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 135g of pumpkin or squash flesh, chopped
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 7g fast action dried yeast
  • 260g water
  • 8g fine salt
  • Several turns of a black pepper mill
  • 20 ml Filippo Berio Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • (optional – one egg as an egg wash if preferred)

Method:

  1. Place the chopped squash in a saucepan and add enough water to almost cover it. Simmer until soft. Strain the squash, but sieve it over your measuring jug – you’ll need to keep the water it was cooked in.
  2. Press the squash flesh to get as much water out as possible (this is so you can measure it more accurately). Mash or blend the flesh so it’s not lumpy or stringy. Top up the liquid with water until it reaches 260g.
  3. Make your dough, by combining the flour, salt, pepper, the squash, olive oil, yeast and liquid in your large bowl. Mix roughly and leave for 10 minutes. Tip out onto a clean surface and begin kneading. This dough comes together quickly and is a little wet.
  4. Knead for about 7-8 minutes until it starts to become smooth and glossy. Only use additional flour if you feel it’s absolutely necessary. Once kneaded, oil the bowl and shape the dough into a ball. Place it into the oiled bowl and cover with a clean linen tea towel or similar.
  5. Leave to prove for about 45 minutes until risen. Divide your dough in half and flour both baking trays. Take half of the dough and cut off a small piece. Roll this into a long sausage/string shape.
  6. With the rest of this piece of dough, flatten it out to about 1 cm thickness, shaping it into a pumpkin shape (like a fat ‘8’ on it’s side with a short stalk). Take the string of dough, persist lightly onto where the stalk is and curl it on it self across the pumpkin shape. Do NOT make the indentations at this stage. Cover the dough with a tea towel.
  1. With the second piece of dough, pull and flatten into a ghost shape – but do NOT make the holes for the eyes and mouth yet. Cover this one with your other tea towel. Leave both to rise for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the dough is on its last proof, turn your oven on to 200C fan / 220F conventional / 450F.
  3. When the fougasse has risen, use the edge of a spoon to make the indentations on the pumpkin shape – as the spoon is curved it makes it easier. Use the handle end of the spoon to create the holes for the eyes and mouth on the ghost shape.
  4. You can now lightly brush with beaten egg if you prefer – my pumpkin was brushed with egg and the ghost was left without (so you can see the difference). Place them in the oven and immediately turn it down to 190C fan / 210C conventional / 425F . Bake for 20-22 minutes until risen and getting brown.
  5. Leave to cool, although it's delicious slightly warm.

Cooks tips:

This dough is a bit wet. If you don’t fancy kneading by hand pop it in your stand mixer with a dough hook.