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
6 to 8 people
(500 grams) type 00 or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 3/4 cups
(400 grams) lukewarm water
(7 grams) of active dried yeast
(450 grams) concord grapes (see notes)
5 to 6 tablespoons
extra virgin olive oil
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
In This Recipe
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.
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.
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.
When ready to assemble the schiacciata, wash and pat dry the grapes and separate them from the stem, no need to deseed them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.