If you have visited Florence or the Chianti area of Tuscany in Autumn, you may have seen ‘Schiacciata con l’uva’ in the local bakeries – and if you were clever, you would have bought some and eaten it without sharing. The word ‘schiacciata’ usually refers to a flat focaccia bread and ‘uva’ are grapes. Schiacciata con l’Uva is a wine-grape bread and is a traditionally made in Tuscany during the Autumn Vendemmia – when the grapes are being harvested.
Although sweet, it’s not really cake, so imagine a thin Italian focaccia bread minus the salt then add black wine grapes, sugar and sometimes also fresh rosemary. I was reminded of it recently when my friend Alice Kiandra Adams from Rustica Retro posted a picture on Instagram and as we had two large punnets of my favourite grapes in the house, I decided it was a sign and thus a little research began. I first contacted my twin sister Lisa, because I remember a few years ago that she had written a blog post on Schiacciata con l’uva, and also posted a video of her making it on YouTube in 2010. Lisa’s blog is no more, but luckily for me she did give me her recipe. Lisa lives in Florence, and although I lived in Tuscany for 15 years I considered her more expert than me especially considering she’d already made the recipe. (Not so much now though LOL).
I used a variety of black wine grapes that are called ‘uva fragola’ in Italy. They are small black grapes and as you put them in your mouth, the skin pops open and the sweetest, most delicious pulp jumps into your mouth. They do have pips though, so when I made this a second time (because not in love with my first attempt I made it again two days later), I cut the grapes in half and removed the pip from them all. A little tedious, but a good job to do while waiting for the dough to rise and well worth it to avoid spitting out pips later on. For my first attempt I used a double layer of dough and grapes (as per the recipe), but I then decided I would prefer a thinner version, and so for the second attempt I made one layer. I also recommend to bake this on your flat oven tray and not worry about confining it into a cake tin, otherwise it really will resemble more a cake and less a schiacciata – Yummy nonetheless! Anyway, I have included photos from both attempts… I’ll leave it up to you to decide how you prefer your ‘Schiacciata con l’uva’.
Schiacciata con l’uva
- 400g Plain Flour
- 21g dry yeast (brewer’s yeast)
- 250ml warm water
- 250g sugar (you may not use it all)
- 1 kg black wine grapes (seedless if you can)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin Olive Oil
- pinch of salt
- fresh Rosemary, chopped roughly (optional)
- Place flour into a bowl, add yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, olive oil and about half the water. Knead, adding water as required until dough is compact and comes away from the edges of the bowl. Remove from bowl and continue kneading on a lightly floured board for 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth. Place into a bowl lightly greased with olive oil and cover with a clean tea-towel. Allow it to rise for at least 1 hour.
- Meanwhile wash grapes and remove pips if necessary. (You can cut grapes in half, and although this is a personal choice, you will see in the pictures where I did… and where the grapes were left whole.)
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
- Roll a piece of dough on top of baking paper to achieve a rectangle shape that will fir on the baking tray. Lift dough onto tray leaving baking paper underneath.
- Scatter grapes over dough (see photo), and cover generously with tablespoons of sugar. (Some people choose to add red wine at this stage and splash it over the grapes, but I don’t feel it necessary with this variety of grapes).
- Sprinkle olive oil and rosemary on top of the grapes and using a pastry brush ensure the border is also coated with olive oil. *For a single layer the Schiacciata can go into the oven now for about 15-20min, until edges are golden.
- The traditional recipe requires you to repeat this procedure. Roll out another piece of dough and place it over the grapes. Press down lightly so that you can hear the grapes popping a little under your hands. Add more grapes on top, then once again cover with sugar and rosemary and sprinkle with olive oil. Use pastry brush to brush border with olive oil.
- Place in oven for about 25 minutes, until schiacciata is golden.