Grape Focaccia (Schiacciata all'uva)

By • October 7, 2012 • 26 Comments

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Author Notes: This Tuscan grape bread is usually only found in the month of September, a tradition governed by the very seasonal nature of grapes in Italy, and one that also has an extremely close tie with the wine harvest in the fall. These days, it is usually made with fragrant, berry-like concord grapes but sometimes you'll still find it made with native Tuscan wine grapes known as canaiolo.

There are rarely adaptions made to the traditional Tuscan recipe, but often you can find the addition of aniseed – a typical Tuscan flavouring.

Avoid using table grapes or white grapes for this, they just don’t do it justice in terms of flavour or appearance. If you can’t get good, sweet wine or concord grapes or it’s the wrong season, try this with blueberries. It’s completely unorthodox, of course, but it’s a delicious substitute and you get a much closer result than using table grapes.

A sprinkling of raw sugar over the top before baking is usually sufficient as it's not too sweet, but confectioner's sugar dusted over the top once completely cool can add a bit more sweetness and visual appeal.
Emiko

Serves 6 to 8 people

  • 4 cups (500 grams) type 00 or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 3/4 cups (400 grams) lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon (7 grams) of active dried yeast
  • 1 pound (450 grams) concord grapes (see notes)
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Prepare the dough the night before you need to bake it or a couple of hours ahead of time. Dissolve the yeast in a few tablespoons of the lukewarm water with a tablespoon of the flour. Leave aside until little bubbles begin to form – if this doesn’t happen, throw it out and start again.
  2. In a mixer or in a bowl (if doing it by hand), sift the flour and add the yeast mixture. Add the rest of the water little by little, working the dough well after each addition. Note: This is important to allow the flour to absorb all the water. If, while adding the water, you see that it’s losing its elasticity and becoming more like a batter, stop, add a bit more flour until it returns to a dough. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the dough.
  3. Place the dough onto a well floured surface and knead for about 5-10 minutes or until the dough is elastic and bounces back when you poke it. Roll into a ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and set it in a warm place, away from drafts, until it doubles in size (about one hour). If doing this the night before, you can leave the dough in the bowl to rise in the fridge slowly, which will result in superior flavour and aroma.
  4. When ready to assemble the schiacciata, wash and pat dry the grapes and separate them from the stem, no need to deseed them.
  5. When the dough has risen, line a rectangular baking pan with some baking paper (or oil it well with olive oil) and heat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Take the dough out of the bowl with well-floured hands (it will be very sticky!). Divide the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger ball on a well-floured surface roughly to the size of your pan, no more than ½ inch thick. Lay the dough in the pan, pushing the dough to the corners and sides, if necessary.
  7. Divide about two thirds of the grapes and scatter them on the first dough layer and sprinkle half of the sugar over, with half the olive oil.
  8. Roll out the second ball of dough to the size of the pan and cover the grapes with this second layer of dough, rolling up the edges of the bottom layer of dough from underneath to the top, to close the schiacciata. Gently push down on the surface of the dough to create little dimples all over.
  9. Cover the top with the rest of the grapes and sprinkle over the remaining sugar and olive oil. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the dough becomes golden and crunchy on top and the grapes are oozing and cooked.
  10. Allow to cool completely. When ready to serve, cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar, if using. This is best served and eaten the day of baking, or at the most the next day.
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about 1 month ago beejay45

Oh, my gosh! Someone in my family used to make this, but I can't remember who -- I was just a little kid when I last had it. I'd forgotten all about it, but I've been making a focaccia with grapes and rosemary, a more savory one, with a fruity olive oil. I use big fat red table grapes, cut a small "x" in the up side of the skin so the juices will flow out and caramelize. I run it under the broiler at the end for that extra bit of hot sugar goodness. ;) Since it's more savory than the traditional, I sprinkle a mix of coarser sea salt and that non-melting sugar over it when it comes out of the oven, but just a tiny bit for an accent. I really love how the rosemary takes this from dessert to almost a dinner course with a wedge of salty cheese and a glass of wine.

Now that I see this recipe, and my memories are stirred, I'm going to have to give the traditional recipe a try. Thanks, Emiko!

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about 1 month ago Emiko

That's wonderful - you can make this less sweet by skipping the confectioner's sugar and adding (very traditional!) aniseed to it (not the star aniseed but the little, small, licorice-like seeds) as well. Some even skip the sugar completely and just let the grapes speak for themselves!

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about 1 month ago Ellie | fit for the soul

This is so beautiful!!!!!!! It's makin' my mouth water with that cute lil sprinkle on top. :D

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3 months ago Ausra

I made it, and it was super tasty; a few commets about the recipe - the amount of dough is enough for a half-sheet pan (18"x13"), not baking pan (13"x9"), as I initially thought; also, baking time is around 40-45 minutes, not 25-30; after half hour of baking the cake was just as pale as it was when it went into the oven; overall - very good recipe; the cake will be sweet, but weet always means "good" to me;

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3 months ago Emiko

Thanks for the feedback, very glad you enjoyed it! It sounds a little bit like perhaps the dough was not rolled out or flattened enough -- perhaps it was thicker than it was meant to be therefore it didn't spread enough to fit a larger pan and therefore, being thicker, also needed more time to cook? This is a recipe I've made over and over again numerous times and the timing is always the same (with all the recipe testing I do I also use an oven thermometer to make sure I have the precise temperatures, so I know this timing is correct!) I can only think of the explanation that it may have been much thicker than usual because it was in a smaller pan. By the way, you can also make this "free form" on a baking tray and shape the dough in an oval or round like a pizza if you don't have the right size tray ;)

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3 months ago btglenn

I have made this preparing my focaccia with bread dough which makes it more chewy. My preference is for no sugar using the natural sweetness of the grapes to prevail. I use regular red grapes, roasting them first until they are soft and some of their sugar has carmelized. I them place the grapes on top of the final rise along with whatever juice has been released when roasting. I then poke holes with my fingers to let the juice and grapes go into some of the dough. Bake as usual for a chewy naturally sweet taste of roasted grapes.

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3 months ago Dasha

No salt?

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3 months ago Emiko

No salt! Tuscan bread traditionally has no salt in it. If you're not used to the taste of unsalted bread, you can certainly add a pinch of salt to the dough, but if you'd like to try this the traditional way, no need for any salt!

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4 months ago Andrea Young

I can't find concords to save my life - and I live in an urban area with gourmet grocery stores (Dallas in late August - will I be seeing them soon?). I am finding Thomcord grapes, though, which have a small seed but are still very dark and sweet (much more intense than table grapes). I'm curious if anyone has made these with Thomcord grapes?

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4 months ago Emiko

I haven't tried them but I think they'd probably be the next best bet!

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3 months ago Margo Werner

I just made this with Thomcord grapes and found that they released so much liquid that the foccacia became soggy in places. I wonder if cutting back on the volume of grapes might help?

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3 months ago Emiko

The volume of grapes indicated is what you would normally find for this - and there will be a few spots which are juicy and sticky (but in a good way - in fact, these are some of the best bits!). If it wasn't in a good way though then perhaps these grapes in particular are a bit more watery than the concords normally used. I've also done these with some regular old nondescript black seedless grapes (when I've been desperate!) and they have still made a great focaccia.

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about 1 year ago bread angel

The bread never fails to get compliments. My recipe is a little different and sometimes, I put almonds on it for a little extra crunch. I use seedless black grapes and especially like the concord variety. Another lesson I learned, don't use your best olive oil for this; just simple cooking olive oil works just fine. If your olive oil is too flavor-full, it may clash with the grapes.

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about 1 year ago Sarah | strawberryplum

I made a version with fresh figs a couple weeks back...a little different than the traditional schiacciata all' uva, but still totally delicious. I wish I could go to Florence every fall to have the real deal!

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about 1 year ago chez_mere

Just made this for breakfast. Holy cow! Love the intense grape flavor you get from using the concords instead of seedless. And personally, I like the crunchy bits - but I also adore crunchy peanut butter. Thanks so much for giving me a little reminder of my time in Siena

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about 1 year ago Emiko

That's great! The crunchy seeds had to grow on me when I first tried them in Florence - but it didn't take long to become addicted ;)

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about 1 year ago Sara Blake

Are you certain there's no need to deseed the grapes? It can be quite a tooth-breaker to bite down on one. I just bought some concord grapes and was excited to make this, but now I'm unsure due to the seed issue.

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about 1 year ago Emiko

Traditionally, it's practically obligatory to leave the seeds in and in Tuscany you will you always find schiacciata all'uva that way! Crunchy is just the way they like it. But if you think you won't enjoy it, feel free to deseed yours. Or use seedless grapes, but these I think have less flavour and in Italy you won't find seedless grapes so these are never used traditionally either.

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about 2 years ago Midge

I'm dying to try this Emiko. Looks so beautiful and delicious!

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about 2 years ago LasTrega

Bello trovare la ricetta del Pan con l'uva da un fiorentino lontano... :) grazie...
ciao da Prato :)

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about 2 years ago Emiko

Grazie mille! E' sempre stata la mia merendina preferita ;)

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about 2 years ago Emiko

Grazie mille! E' sempre stata la mia merendina preferita di fine estate! ;)

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Gorgeous, gorgeous photo! I love how the concord grapes look like blueberries, too.

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about 2 years ago Emiko

Thanks! Yes, for me it's one of the reasons why blueberries make a really good substitute for the concord grapes - they give it the same look and taste amazing!

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about 2 years ago darksideofthespoon

I'm not a huge grape fan but this looks stunning! Looks like a deconstructed grape doughnut of sorts.

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about 2 years ago Emiko

If you don't like grapes, try it with blueberries (as described in the notes) - it's divine! In fact, any really delicious fruit is good. Sometimes you see this schiacciata made with fresh, over ripe figs from the end of summer. I'm thinking next summer of trying it with strawberries....