With another 3 weeks to go until I return to Montalcino and my little casa, I decided to have my very own celebration stateside to toast the birth of the new vintage. The Tuscans make a sweet focaccia bread stuffed and topped with grapes, ‘Schiacciata con l’Uva’, in celebration of the harvest so I thought what better way to join in the fun – albeit from 5000 miles away. Schiacciata translates to ‘flattened’ or ‘squashed’ in Italian and one can find this wonderful bread topped with a dizzying array of toppings, both savory and sweet, in Italy. This one is a sweet schiacciata made sweet by the addition of sugar and fruity olive oil. The olive oil is infused with rosemary which adds a wonderful dimension to the bread. The aroma wafting from my oven was simply heavenly. Try to find wine or concord grapes if you can. The seeds add a nice soft crunch to the bread and the table variety are usually too watery. Well, time to deliver some of this wonderful treat to the neighbors so they can enjoy as well – but first, just one more piece to give me strength before I go! Enjoy!
Schiacciata con l’Uva (Focaccia with Grapes)
For the Schiacciata:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 package rapid-rising yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
For the filling/topping:
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
About 2 lbs. wine or concord grapes, washed and dryed
4 tablespoons sugar
Make the Schiacciata:
1. Warm the olive oil and the sprig of fresh rosemary in a small saucepan. Set aside to cool.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast with the warm water and sugar. Stir to combine and let stand until foamy – about 5 minutes.
3. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the flour to the bowl, followed by the salt and cooled olive oil.
4. Once the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth and elastic – about 8-10 minutes, adding flour if too wet or a bit of water if too dry.
5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towl and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour). (I put mine in my oven with the oven light on – just enough warmth to make my dough happy! )
Assemble the bread:
1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat the other sprig of rosemary with the olive oil in the same saucepan. Set aside to cool.
3. Punch back the dough and roll out half of the dough to fit on a baking sheet.
4. Place the dough on an oiled baking sheet. Lightly squeeze 1/2 the grapes to crush and place them on the prepared dough. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
5. Roll out the other half of the dough and cover the first layer. Press the edges together well to seal.
6. Slightly squeeze the rest of the grapes and place on top of the second layer, pressing the grapes into the dough.
7. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar.
8. Drizzle with the rosemary-scented olive oil.
9. Bake for about 40 minutes until crispy….enjoy!