schiacciata di uva
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For people with next to no Italian like me, this name is a bit of a mouthful. I insisted on calling it SCIATICA – cleverly figuring they must both be derived from the word ‘squashed’: squashed nerve, squashed dough, same difference.
Sadly – not. Sciatica is from the Greek iskhiadikos - ‘pain in the hips’ rather than anything Latin or Italian meaning ‘squashed’ which is indeed the literal translation of ‘schiacciata’. Andrew Whiteley whose ‘Bread Matters’ book the recipe comes from, helpfully suggests it’s pronounced ‘ski-a-charter’. Nice connotation. One way or another, sciatica or ski charter, this is one hell of a tasty sweet focaccia.
The Italian and the French have a lovely way with flat bread – they salt it, stuff it with olives, ham, cheese, soft fruit, preserves, sugar - whatever you like. This one is Tuscan harvest festive bread or cake, great with a cup of coffee in the morning.The only down side is it doesn’t keep so well, being a not particularly rich dough, so it’s best eaten when fresh. Next time I’m going to make two small ones, bake the spare one very lightly, maybe for 20 minutes, and freeze it.
schiacciata di uva
- For the raisin filling:
- 30g Vin Santo or sweet sherry
- 200g raisins
- For the ferment:
- 20g sugar
- 5g fresh yeast
- 100g water (at 35C)
- 75g flour type 0 or plain white
- For the dough:
- ferment (from above)
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 75g flour type 0 or strong white
- 2g sea salt
- 10g raw cane or Demerara sugar
- 30g olive oil
- 50g water
- For the topping:
- 150g grapes (black best, I only had crimson)
- 20g raw cane or Demerara sugar
Prepare the raisins the night before if possible, or at least an hour or two in advance. Pour the wine over the raisins in a bowl or a sealable plastic bag. Drain thoroughly before using – but there will be very little liquid left.
Prepare the ferment: dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water, gradually add to the flour and mix until smooth. Cover and leave in a warm place for about an hour.After that time mix all the dough ingredients and knead until soft and supple. Cover and prove in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in volume.
Divide the dough in two parts and roll each out into a circle of about 15cm in diameter. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment and dusted with flour or semolina.
Lay one circle on the baking sheet, spread the drained raisins over it evenly, cover with the other circle and seal the edges. The edge of the bottom piece needs to be slightly pulled up and over the top piece and folded over to form a seal, like in a Cornish pasty.
Press the top of the dough gently to flatten it down to about 20cm now, pierce it with a skewer in several places to release trapped air. Press the grapes into the top, quite firmly, so they don’t pop out during final proving and baking. Sprinkle the sugar over the whole thing, leave to prove for an hour again and bake in the oven preheated to 180C/350F/gas 4 for about 30 minutes.