Pan con l'Uva (Bread with Grapes)

October 8, 2010


Author Notes: Literally 'bread with grapes', pan con l'uva is one of the traditional cakes of early autumn in my home town Prato and in the Florentine area. Also known under the name 'Schiacciata con l'uva' ('stiacciata' as we say in Tuscany), it is made only with dough, grapes, olive oil and sugar. The simplicity of its ingredients reveals a peasant origin, this being a dish closely connected to vintage time. Only grapes unsuitable for good wine-making were actually employed, particularly the so called canaiolo variety which has very small black round grapes. Baking these grapes with dough to make a sweet bread was indeed a way to make the most of food that otherwise had to be thrown away – an unforgivable waste – in a period when every woman made bread at home. Preparing pan con l'uva is very easy for it basically consists in two layers of dough with grapes and sugar inside.

For this recipe I must thank my husband Mario who did the greatest part of the job, kneading bread dough with his own hand. Fortunately, he's exceptionally talented, maybe because he's the grandson of two bakers and he had some tricks taught by his Calabrian grandmother. With awesome results, I dare say.

As suggested by a friend of my mother's (who makes delicious pan con l'uva), aniseed can be added for a liquorice-fennel-like taste.
Rita Banci

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 3.3 pounds canaiolo grapes (concord grapes can be a substitute)
  • 1 pound flour (plus some for kneading)
  • 250 milliliters water at room temperature
  • 1.2 ounces baker's yeast
  • 10 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 8 tablespoons extravergine olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed

Directions

  1. Wash and clean grapes. Preheat oven to 180°C (about 350°F).
  2. Pour flour directly onto a smooth surface (marble or glass). Make a hole in the center and crumble yeast into it together with a pinch of salt. Add little water. With your forefinger start turning ingredients around so that a little dough ball is formed (remaining flour will be all around). Little by little add small amounts of water and knead with a finger. When the dough ball is pretty big, start kneading using both hands until dough is soft and smooth. At this point, gradually add four tablespoons of sugar and four tablespoons of oil. If dough is too dry, add a little more water; otherwise, if it's too damp, add a little flour.
  3. Form a ball with dough and let it rise at room temperature for about an hour wrapped in tea cloths (rising depends on temperature: it can take half an hour in summer or up to an hour and a half in winter).
  4. When the dough has become twice its size, split it into 1/3 and 2/3 parts. Roll out 2/3 of dough with a rolling pin directly onto baking paper (that will be placed over a baking sheet). Riddle the sheet of pastry with a fork so that it won't swell during baking. Spread over about 2.6-2.7 pounds of grapes; drizzle two tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of aniseed. Roll out the remaining 1/3 dough and lay it over grapes. Fold the pastry edges up to 'close' the cake. Spread the remaining grapes, drizzle two tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with four tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of aniseed. Bake for about an hour.

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Bread|Greek|Fruit|Grape|Serves a Crowd|Spring|Summer|Vegan|Vegetarian|Snack|Dessert

Reviews (19) Questions (0)

19 Reviews

LasTrega October 10, 2012
Trovare la ricetta del pan con l'uva in inglese...su un sito americano... da una pratese...è la cosa + bella che mi potesse capitare oggi! <br />Ciao da Prato.... :) <br />Jessica
 
Author Comment
Rita B. October 18, 2012
Grazie Jessica!! <br />Spero di non aver detto bischerate... :P
 
Author Comment
Rita B. October 18, 2012
Grazie Jessica! <br />Spero di non aver detto bischerate... :P
 
theyearinfood November 9, 2010
Really enjoying your recipes, Rita! I love learning about regional Italian cooking.
 
Author Comment
Rita B. November 10, 2010
Thanks. I wasn't sure whether to post this recipe or not. I thought it was rather banal because it's so common here that every housewife has their own personal version. Then my husband observed that not every one knows it and some people may be interested in it, as I am in other culture and cuisine. So here it is!
 
AntoniaJames November 8, 2010
I made this recently, using small organic green grapes (they are actually yellow), as the pan con l'uva I enjoyed when I lived in Florence was made with those. I didn't use a full three pounds. Two seemed like plenty. I suspect it's a matter of preference, as to how juicy you want it. The base bread recipe is sensational! I plan to use it again, to adapt it for other fruits. I'll add more comments when I do. And thank you, Rita, for posting this amazing treasure of a recipe!! ;o)
 
Author Comment
Rita B. November 8, 2010
I'm so glad you liked it! Yes, I suppose it's a matter of preference: my husband told me I should have added more grapes because it wasn't enough... :P At home we love it rather juicy, but it depends on taste: the fun is in experimenting till you find your own perfect balance, don't you think?
 
KitchenKim November 7, 2010
Rita - I would love to make this recipe, but in Baltimore the concord grapes only come with seeds in them. How would you approach the recipe with this challange? KitchenKim
 
Author Comment
Rita B. November 8, 2010
Well, we happen to find seeds in grapes as well, but it's not a problem. I mean, here in Tuscany we make pan con l'uva with grapes that either have seeds or not: both ways the result is delicious, because seeds are few and small. There are some people who claim that seeds add more flavor to the cake. The grapes I used had seeds in them, anyway. I suggest you to try all the same and see if you like it. :D
 
artandlemons November 7, 2010
Um, yes, please! This bread sounds incredible.
 
Jennifer A. November 7, 2010
Another one for the recipe box! Cannot wait to try this.
 
Midge November 1, 2010
Yum! I used to frequent a bakery in DC that made this. Thrilled to have a recipe to try it on my own.
 
lapadia November 1, 2010
THIS is delicious, thanks for sharing it!
 
luvcookbooks October 9, 2010
Grandaisy Bakery in Manhattan makes an open face pizza like this but open face and with champagne grapes. This sounds amazing and more grapey. Can't wait to try it!
 
Author Comment
Rita B. October 10, 2010
Wow! It sounds delicious! I wish I could have the chance to taste this Grandaisy Bakery version: maybe if I happen to be in New York... :P
 
AntoniaJames October 8, 2010
The photo and recipe are making me drool. So delicious looking! The aniseed is brilliant. Gotta love the way Tuscans put together just a few ingredients, like this, to create something so magical. Can't wait (!!!) to try this one. Thank you SO much for posting this recipe. Really hope you will post more! ;o)
 
Author Comment
Rita B. October 8, 2010
Thank you so much for all these compliments! (the photo was taken by husband so I must tell him how much you and your sister appreciate it... ;P) This recipe, like many other Tuscan and Italians dishes, comes from country traditions when people (peasants especially) were poor and had to make the most of the few things they had (think about 'panzanella' or 'ribollita' soup...). I hope you try to make it (I think you could use concord grape instead of our canarolo variety). Let me know how it comes out! :D
 
SallyCan October 8, 2010
Beautiful recipe. Love the photo, headnote, and your blog too!
 
Author Comment
Rita B. October 8, 2010
Many thanks, Sally! You're really so nice.