Schiacciata con l'uva e rosmarino (Tuscan Grape and Rosemary Bread), a traditional Tuscan 'flatbread' made during vendemmia, harvest time. Sweet, ripe grapes are layered between and on top of two thin sheets of bread dough. The top is then dusted with sugar and lightly seasoned with oil and rosemary, creating a jam-like effect that is truly addictive. This Tuscan Grape and Rosemary Bread can be enjoyed at breakfast, dessert, or as a snack.
Song of the day: Holding Back The Years - Simply Red.
I wasn't thinking about the Concord grapes ripening on the vine in Loreto's parents' backyard when we left for our holidays to go to Italy. I didn't think about them when we were there, and little did I think about them when we came back. Until Loreto returned home one day with a box full of beautifully ripe Concord grapes, ready to be turned into something good.
Seasonality is a beautiful thing, and it's too bad we're kind of losing it, since in the major grocery stores we can find fruits and vegetables all year round, coming from different parts of the world. Following my parents' teachings, I try to stay away from out of season produce as much as I can. I have to admit, it is easier done in Italy, where the produce is abundant and beautiful any time of the year, less so in Canada, where the harsh winter climate makes very few local produce items available.
Concord grapes are one of those wonderful seasonal fruits that you have to wait until the end of Summer/early Autumn to see. Waiting makes the heart grow fonder, I think. We're all excited at the end of September, beginning of October to see those gorgeously dark and plump bunches of grapes making their appearance in the markets and sometimes, like in our case, in the backyard. First thing I make with the Concord grapes is the jelly, a favorite of ours and a great homemade gift for the upcoming holidays. Then, and it has become a new favorite, this Schiacciata con l'uva e rosmarino.
Schiacciata con l'uva e rosmarino (Tuscan Grape and Rosemary Bread): is it a bread or a focaccia? Is it sweet or savory?
Schiacciata con l’uva has a bread-like consistency, crispy/crunchy at the edges and soft in the middle. It is not a focaccia because it is made with two layers of dough, with plenty of grapes tucked in the middle and on top, seeds in and all. Oh yes, that crunch is part of what makes this delicacy so delightful. Usually, in Italy, they use uva fragola or, in Tuscany, the wine grapes canaiolo. Here the best grape to use is the berry-like Concord grapes. You can use whatever grapes you find available in your country, although I wouldn't recommend any table grapes, they do not have enough "character" to stand out in a simple dish like this. In any case, try to go for the most organic option you can find. If you have the patience, seed your grapes, if not, do as the Tuscans do 😉 .
Schiacciata means 'squashed', 'flattened', and that's what you do, you flatten the dough and you squash the grapes in the middle and on top, pushing down with your fingers to create little ‘dimples’ all over, where the grapes, oil, sugar, and rosemary are going to nestle. The addition of sugar allows the grapes to soften and sweeten creating almost a jam-like effect that is truly addictive. The use of some savory elements like olive oil and rosemary may seem odd, but it's what gives the schiacciata its unique character.
Schiacciata con l'uva e rosmarino (Tuscan Grape and Rosemary Bread) has rural origins witnessed by the simplicity of the ingredients: leavened dough, olive oil, rosemary, sugar, and grapes.
It is a tasty seasonal dish, which is prepared only during a short period of the year, following the rhythms of nature, just as it once was. It has a fleeting moment, then you have to wait patiently for the rest of the year before it appears again in Tuscan bakeries or on your table.
My recipe is slightly adapted from Giulia, Juls' Kitchen, always an inspiration. The memories of our wonderful day in her kitchen in Tuscany learning, hands-on, about the Tuscan "cucina povera", is still vivid in our mind.
Enjoy a taste of Autumn with this Schiacciata con l'uva e rosmarino (Tuscan Grape and Rosemary Bread) and be prepared to have your hands, lips, and tongue stained with a beautiful purple hue.
Song of the day: Holding Back The Years - Simply Red.Print
- 300 g flour (I used type 0)
- 100 g spelt flour
- 20 g fresh (baker's) yeast
- 200 ml lukewarm water + 3 Tbsp
- 4 Tbsp e.v.o. oil, divided
- 500 g Concord grapes, stems removed, washed and pat dry, seeds in and all
- 60 g organic cane sugar, divided
- 1 rosemary sprig
- Dissolve the yeast in 3 tablespoon of lukewarm water. Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the center and add the water/yeast mixture. Leave it, covered with a towel, for 15 minutes or until it bubbles. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of the water and using your hands start mixing with the flour. Add the water a little at a time, working the dough after each addition, until it comes together. Add a little more water if you feel it's too dry. You can do this in a food processor or by hand.
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5-10 minutes or until elastic and not sticky (the dough should bounce back when you poke it). Roll into a ball and place it into an oiled big bowl. Roll the dough in the oil so it is all covered in oil, then cover with a towel and set in the oven, turned off and with the light on, to rise for about 1 hour and a half, or until double in size.
- After this time, work the dough again with 1 tablespoon of oil, then put it back in the bowl, cover with the towel and let it rise again for about an hour.
- Oil a rectangular baking sheet and add the rosemary to the remaining 1 ½ tablespoon e.v.o. oil.
- After the second rise, divide the dough in 2 (1 slightly bigger than the other). Spread the bigger piece of dough, no more than 1-cm thick, at the bottom of the baking sheet, scatter about two-thirds of the grapes on top and sprinkle half of the sugar over, then a drizzle some of the rosemary/olive oil.
- Stretch the second piece of dough and cover the grapes, rolling up the edges of the bottom layer of dough from underneath to the top, to close the schiacciata. Gently, with your fingers, push down the top of the dough to create some 'dimples'.
- Add the rest of the grapes, sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top, and drizzle with the remaining rosemary/olive oil.
- Let rise one last time for about 1 hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes or until nice and golden and the grapes look wrinkled and cooked.
- Take out of the oven, let cool a bit, then cut into squares and enjoy.
- If you like it sweeter, just sprinkle some more cane sugar on top or lightly dust with icing sugar.
I used flour type 0 (which is less refined than 00 and all-purpose) and spelt flour (which I love). You can use, for the whole amount, all-purpose flour or type 00 or experiment with the flour of your choice.
It is not a soft focaccia, it has a bread-like consistency, with crunchy edges and a soft, juicy, interior. You can reduce the number of grapes, and up the amount of sugar if you like it sweeter. I found it had the right sweetness.
Remember that Concord grapes have seeds, so you do not have to mind crunching on the seeds as you eat it. If you have the patience, you can remove the seeds, or try with a seedless, small and sweet grape variety. It won't be traditional, and it won't have the same flavor, but whatever floats your boat.
This schiacciata is best served and eaten the day of baking, warm or cold, or in the next couple of days.
- Prep Time: 4 hours
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: concord grapes, focaccia, rosemary, bread, italian, tuscany, snack, fresh yeast, breakfast, snack, seasonal
I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.