In Celebration of La Vendemmia: Schiacciata con l’Uva (Focaccia with Grapes)

 The 2009 grape harvest – ‘la vendemmia’ – has begun!  My friends in Montalcino emailed that the harvesting of the much loved sangiovese grapes of Montalcino – cherished for the prized Brunellos that are born of these vines – is underway! Autumn is in full swing in Tuscany.  For my trip to Montalcino this past August, I had rented a little casa nestled on a hillside in the middle of a little vineyard owned by dear Enzo. The grapes were just beginning to turn but their amazing color had started to develop. 
Sangiovese grapes from Enzo's vineyard in August
Sangiovese grapes from Enzo's vineyard in August

     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!

Join the Conversation

  1. If I make this the day before would that work or is it best on the same day?

    1. Ciao, ciao! I *think* that one day ahead shouldn’t matter – but I will tell you for sure tomorrow! 😉 Will report back!

    2. Ciao, ciao – ok, next day report! Not bad on day 2; not quite as fresh but flavors have deepened…like a smooth mouthful of grape jam ….yummmm! If I was serving on day 2, I might warm it a tad before I served. Or another option would be to make the focaccia dough the night prior and allow it to rise in the refrigerator overnight, take it out about 45 mins before assembling. I have tried the ‘cool’ rise a few times and works well. Have fun with it! Hope you are well! Ci vediamo! Michele

  2. The cool rise sounds like a good plan. I will try it and let you know how it works. Doing OK, except for a broken toe which I don’t need to cook. 🙂

    Using all recipes from you and Joe for a dinner party on Saturday, when my German friend is here.

  3. Hi Michele,

    For the bread you indicate to yeast to the warm water and sugar but you don’t have any sugar in the list of ingredients. How much sugar?


    1. Oh my – forgot the sugar! Thanks! 2 tablespoons – just corrected! Thanks for catching…..hope all is well. ciao, ciao!

  4. should have said “add yeast to the warm water…,” Missed a word.

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