Monday, October 3, 2016

Schiacciata con l'uva

Now that wine grapes are in season, don't miss this chance to make schiacciata con l'uva, which literally means a squashed thing with grapes. It's a dish from Tuscany, and is more or less a focaccia, topped with grapes, rosemary, olive oil and a bit of sugar.

I love it as a snack, with a glass of wine before dinner, or as breakfast. Don't try to use those green or pale purple grapes you regularly see at the supermarket. They just don't have the jammy, intense flavor of concord grapes, or these tiny grapes I used, called black corinth seedless grapes. Many supermarkets also carry these darker, more flavorful grapes, so I hope you seek them out. Some of the larger ones will have seeds, so unless you don't mind a few seeds in your focaccia, you might want to make the effort to take them out.

These black corinth grapes are just perfect for this recipe, and so delicious to eat out of hand. But the caveat is that since they're so small, it takes much longer to strip them from the stems.

The dough is a pleasure to work with - it's so supple and rises easily, provided you keep it in a warm place. What started out as this size grew to at least quadruple in size in no time.

I had to punch it down twice because I wasn't ready to proceed the first time it had ballooned.

Once I was ready to work with it, it was  cinch to roll out on the pan. I pressed it out, using the palm of my hand, then spread a layer of grapes over it, with a sprinkling of sugar and some minced rosemary. Then stretch out the second layer of dough, place it on top, and press more grapes, sugar and rosemary into the top.

Pour some good quality extra-virgin olive oil over it before putting it into the oven. Since I had this delicious and fruity olive oil sent me to by -- made at Fattoria Ramerino, a producer near Florence, it seemed only fitting to use it on a Tuscan schiacciata.

The aroma in your house is fabulous and when it's finished, you won't be able to resist cutting into it.

By the way, as with leftover pizza, the best way to reheat is by placing slices in a cast iron skillet for a couple of minutes. The bottom stays crisp, and if you put the lid on top, the heat will permeate throughout. Caveat: The recipe makes a lot, and it dries out if you keep it for more than a couple of days, so make sure you have a lot of friends or family to help eat the schiacciata, or pass it around to your neighbors, as we did.

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Schiacciata con l'uva - Focaccia With Harvest Grapes

I used a 12" x 16" cookie sheet

Prep Time: 20 mins + 2 hrs rising time

Cook Time: 45 minutes

printable recipe here


For The Focaccia Dough:

5 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour (I used King Arthur bread flour)

2 Teaspoons Instant Yeast (I used one package regular dry yeast)

2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus 2 Additional Tablespoons To Oil Bowl)

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 3/4 Cups Warm Water

For The Filling & Topping:

2 Pounds Wine Grapes, Stemmed & Rinsed

3/4 Cup Sugar

3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Rosemary

1/4 Cup Olive Oil


Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water.

Add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.

Add half the water and stir.

Continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.

Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.

Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.

Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.

Roll the ball of dough around in the oil ensuring the sides of the bowl and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.

Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise.

(I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)

Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.

Divide the dough in half, and place half on a large baking pan (I used a 12" x 16" cookie sheet).

Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil, and scatter half the grapes over the dough.

Sprinkle the grapes with half the sugar and rosemary.

Stretch the other half of the dough over the dough in the pan to cover, pinching the two doughs together to encase the grapes inside.

Spread the other half grapes over the dough, and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

Use the rest of the sugar and rosemary on the grapes.

Let the dough rest, and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Once the oven has reached temperature, bake the focaccia until it is golden brown and the grapes are bubbly and soft, about 45 minutes.

Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

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