Schiacciata all'uva

Schiacciata all’uva (Tuscan Grape Focaccia)

In dessert, Fall, snack, Toscana by Frank39 Comments

No one understands simplicity quite like the Tuscans. As Leonardo da Vinci famously said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.  This rustic Grape Focaccia, which the Tuscans call Schiacciata all’uva, is a case in point.

Almost austere in its simplicity, the result is nevertheless both beautiful and—if your ingredients are topnotch—unfailingly delicious. Traditionally prepared during the vendemmia, or wine grape harvest, with grapes that would otherwise be discarded, schiacciata all’uva is made by layering grapes between and on top of two thin sheets of bread dough, and seasoning everything with sugar and olive oil, and sometimes rosemary or anise seed. The use of some savory elements like olive oil and rosemary in a sweet dish may strike you as odd, but it actually works, and gives the dish its unique character.

Ingredients

  • One batch of homemade bread dough
  • 500g (1 lb) Thompson, Concord or other [black] grapes (see Notes)
  • 4-6 Tbs granulated (caster) sugar, according to your taste
  • Olive oil, q.b.

Optional:

  • Rosemary leaves
  • Aniseed
  • Powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

Directions

Make your homemade bread dough the night before and let it rise overnight.

When you are ready to bake, scoop the dough out on a well-floured surface, dust it well with additional flour and form it into a ball.

Divide the dough in half. Take one half and flatten it out, with a rolling pin or just your hands, to about a one centimeter (3/8 inch) thickness, then lay it on a rimmed baking sheet (or, if you prefer a round schiacciata, pie plate) that you’ve greased well with olive oil. Using your fingers pressing into the dough, spread the dough out a bit more.

Lay about half of the grapes on top of the dough, then sprinkle over half the sugar, some rosemary leaves or aniseed (or both) if using, and drizzle olive oil over everything.

Schiacciata all'uva (prep)

Flatten out the other half of the dough and lay it over the grapes. Top with the rest of the grapes, gently pressing them into the dough. Top with more sugar, herbs if using, and another drizzle of olive oil.

Let the dough rest as you set the oven to 190C/375F. When the oven reaches temperature, place the schiacciata in the oven and let it bake for 30-45 minutes, or until your schiacciata all’uva is cooked through and nicely browned on top, with the grapes popping and oozing their juice into the dough.

Schiacciata all'uva

Let your schiacciata all’uva cool completely before serving, with a dusting of powdered sugar if you like.

Notes on Schiacciata all’uva

The key to success when making schiacciata all’uva is the grapes you use. They must have lots of flavor or the dish will be disappointing. The traditional grape for making schiacciata all’uva is the uva canaiola, a Tuscan wine grape that can complement the Sangiovese to lend softness to Chianti wine. I understand that the canaiola grape is slowly disappearing, even in Italy. These days, the more common uva fragola, literally “strawberry grape”, is a popular choice in Italy. Here in the US, you need to find a similarly small, dark and flavorful grape, like red Thompsons (which I used this time) or Concords (as recently featured by fellow blogger Linda of Ciao Chow Linda) or perhaps the Thompson-Concord hybrid called “Thomcord“. The uva fragola and the Concord are actually cultivars of the same grape species Vitis labrusca.

Variations

Like so many well-known Italian dishes, schiacciata all’uva admits a number of variations. Not all recipes call for rosemary or aniseed, although I find that they add real character to the dish. Some recipes will have you split the grapes in half, which I find much too much fuss. Some recipes call for adding some olive oil to the dough as for making pizza, some for adding sugar. In some recipes the herbs and sometimes some of the grapes are kneaded in with the bread dough. And then this marvelous looking Lombard version of the recipe from fellow blogger Stefano Artusi calls for butter rather than olive oil.

Another point of contention: How long to let the schiacciata rise before baking? Recipes range from no rest at all to an hour to three hours. Here you can let your taste be your guide. The longer the dough rests, the more it will rise, leading to a thicker, more “bready” schiacciata. For today’s recipe, I let the dough rise for just the time that the oven took to come up to temperature, and I was quite happy with the result. Baking times can vary wildly, too, from recipe to recipe. Some call for as little as 20 minutes at 200C/400F and others as much as an hour at 180C/275F. I compromised here, but the real point is, keep checking the oven and trust your eyes to know when it’s done.

Schiacciata all’uva

Total Time: 1 hour

Schiacciata all’uva

Ingredients

  • One batch of homemade bread dough
  • 500g (1 lb) Thompson, Concord or other [black] grapes (see Notes)
  • 4-6 Tbs granulated (caster) sugar, according to your taste
  • Olive oil, q.b.
  • Rosemary leaves (optional)
  • Aniseed (optional)
  • Powdered (confectioner's) sugar

Directions

  1. Make your homemade bread dough the night before and let it rise overnight.
  2. When you are ready to bake, scoop the dough out on a well-floured surface, dust it well with additional flour and form it into a ball.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Take one half and flatten it out, with a rolling pin or just your hands, to about a one centimeter (3/8 inch) thickness, then lay it on a rimmed baking sheet (or, if you prefer a round schiacciata, pie plate) that you've greased well with olive oil. Using your fingers pressing into the dough, spread the dough out a bit more.
  4. Lay about half of the grapes on top of the dough, then sprinkle over half the sugar, some rosemary leaves or aniseed (or both) if using, and drizzle olive oil over everything.
  5. Flatten out the other half of the dough and lay it over the grapes. Top with the rest of the grapes, gently pressing them into the dough. Top with more sugar, herbs if using, and another drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Let the dough rest as you set the oven to 190C/375F. When the oven reaches temperature, place the schiacciata in the oven and let it bake for 30-45 minutes, or until your schiacciata all'uva is cooked through and nicely browned on top, with the grapes popping and oozing their juice into the dough.
  7. Let your schiacciata all'uva cool completely before serving, with a dusting of powdered sugar if you like.

Notes

The recipe for homemade bread dough can be found at http://memoriediangelina.com/2012/01/08/pane-casereccio-homemade-bread/#.WAdgmTKZNE4

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http://memoriediangelina.com/2016/10/21/schiacciata-alluva-grape-focaccia/

Comments

  1. I made my version of this when I was in Italy in October. Uva fragola was everywhere, so it was an easy choice. I used half whole-wheat flour, fresh lievito di birra as leavening agent and no sweetener. It was excellent, especially accompanied with some prosciutto San Daniele 😉 I agree with you about the simplicity.

    1. Author

      Hmmmm, so a kind of semi-savory version, with prosciutto… That sounds nice! Will have to try that next time.

  2. I just made this for the 1st time, although I had not discovered your website when I made it. I used the red Thompsons and it came out quite good. Let’s face it, no matter the region, the Italians just “get it” when it comes to food.

  3. My family makes a type of focaccia called “spianata” and several years ago, while in Michigan, I made one with grapes for us, replacing the garlic and onions with grapes and sugar. I tried it again, just this past week. Wish I had seen your recipe before I did, Frank. I’d prefer to have a recipe before me than to just wing when it comes to any form of baking. I’m sure yours was the superior bread. I’ll be back here the next time I decide to try to prepare another. Thanks!

  4. I’ve heard some people refer to real Tuscan food is too simple (gasp!). There are so many wonderful and diverse Tuscan recipes, like this delightful schiacciata! Looks wonderful, Frank!

  5. Your focaccia is beautiful! I make this often at work for my demos but I never layered the grapes in the middle. I’ll have to try that next time.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Frank – this is one of my Tuscan favorites, yet I have never tried it at home. That has to change, and soon! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  7. I wish I had seen this before I ate all of my Concord grapes from the garden! A friend of mine used to make schiacciata all’ uva with grapes and pine nuts. It was a nice tasting combo. Ciao, Cristina

  8. The concord grapes are in the stores right now – I really need to do this – I haven’t in a few years. I love the savory with the sweet – and the rosemary is out of control in the garden – so this begs to be made.

    1. Author

      Thanks, Claudia! Jealous that your rosemary is doing so well. Mine die off every winter… 🙁

  9. This looks absolutely divine Frank. I have always shied away from making any kind of bread. Your basic bread recipe looks great and I think I can handle it. Thank you Frank.

    1. Author

      I’ve never been much of a baker myself, Gerlinde, but that no-knead bread dough is stupid-simple to make. If even I can do it, I’m sure you can!

  10. It looks delicious. I have to admit that I have never tried it, even if I go to Tuscany every summer. Thanks for sharing the recipe, now I will certainly try it making one by myself. Paola

  11. Your grape focaccia is beautiful. Made me laugh. I had concord grapes in my backyard at my last place. Every fall it was a wrestle with the raccoons as to who would win the most grapes. I think it was a draw and my neighbors would always look forward to me making the grape focaccia, but now I know that it is called schiacciata all’uva (but not how to pronounce it). Thanks for the memory jog and Sunday’s project.

    1. Author

      Love the story, Linze! (By the way, schiacciata is pronounced “Skee-ah-CHAH-tah” and d’uva “DOO-vah”.)

  12. Another good variation is to infuse slightly warmed olive oil with chopped rosemary AND ground black pepper and work it into the dough before adding the grapes.

  13. wow è bellissima e immagino anche molto buona ! Mi hai fatto ricordare la Toscana, grazie ! Buon fine settimana Frank !

  14. Your instructions take the fear out of preparing this quintisentially fall recipe. The grapes are the key element in my opinion as well, a few bruised rosemary leaves add so much to this Tuscan favorite. Frank, you have inspired me to prepares this over the weekend.

  15. When I’m baking bread, I always use an instant-read thermometer to tell me when it’s done — between 190 to 200 F, depending on bread type and what kind of texture I want (195 F is a good all-purpose temperature). Anyway, what nice flavor this must have! Loads of grapes in the stores at the moment, so this is so timely. Thanks!

    1. Author

      Thanks for the tip, John. I see you’re a lot more “scientific” than I usually am in the kitchen. It’s a quality I wish I had!

  16. I’ve made focaccia with grape tomatoes but never grapes. I’m anxious to try it! I know my family would love it and I like that the sweetness of the grapes lends the sweetness to the bread. This is a recipe I’ll definitely make soon. Can’t wait to get the oven baking! Have a great weekend.

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