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schiacciata con l'uva

Updated: Mon, 5 October, 2020

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Schiacciata, the harvest bread from Tuscany is a sweet focaccia traditionally stuffed with grapes - or with raisins. Who says you can't have both in one schiacciata?

schiacciata con l'uva cuisinefiend.com

Flat breads of Italy and France

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 or whatever else you like. There's French fougasse, there is Italian focaccia and their respective varieties, sweet or savoury. This one is Tuscan festive harvest bread and it's great with a cup of coffee in the morning.

grape schiacciata cuisinefiend.com

Schiacciata con l'uva

It is traditionally made with black, juicy Italian grapes - uva - hence the 'harvest bread' label it bears. What if you are overcome by an irresistible craving for schiacciata in early spring? You're saved, because there is also a version with raisins, schiacciata con uvetta.

I love grapes and strongly support their use in cakes, bakes and desserts but having seen Andrew Whiteley's recipe from his book 'Bread Matters', I decided he had the brilliant idea. Best of both: this schiacciata has raisins stuffed in the middle of the bread and grapes decorating it on top.

tuscan focaccia with grapes and raisins cuisinefiend.com

How to make grape schiacciata?

It's easy to make: the dough comes together nicely and it's pleasant to handle even if you need to knead it by hand. I've seen enormous rectangular schiacciatas (schiacciate???) taking up the whole baking tray but a round, not too large loaf is more pleasing on the eye.

The soaking of the raisins for the filling is an absolutely essential step: you do not want dried gnarly fruit spilling out from the middle when you cut into your bread: you want luscious, gelled together filling of plump, swollen with wine flame or jumbo raisins, the best and biggest you can get.

schiacciata con uvetta cuisinefiend.com

How to pronounce 'schiacciata'?

Regarding the name: for people with next to no Italian like me, schiacciata 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, of ‘Bread Matters’ that inspired me, helpfully suggests it’s pronounced ‘ski-a-charter’. Nice connotation. One way or another, sciatica or ski charter, this is simply a wonderful sweet focaccia.

schiacciata fiorentina with grapes and raisins cuisinefiend.com

And it freezes well

The only downside is that it doesn’t keep so well, being a not particularly rich dough, so it’s best eaten when fresh. But in the unlikely case of there being a lot left, after it's served warm from the oven, freeze it. When defrosted, it will be nearly as nice and if you show it a warm oven for a few minutes, you won't be able to tell it has not just been baked.


schiacciata con l'uva

Servings: 6-8Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 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 00 or plain white
  • For the dough:
  • ferment (from above)
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 75g flour type 00 or strong white
  • 2g sea salt
  • 10g raw cane or demerara sugar
  • 30g olive oil
  • 50g water
  • For the topping:
  • 150g dark grapes
  • 20g raw cane or demerara sugar


METHOD

 

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

Dough for schiacciata cuisinefiend.com

5. 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.

How to make schiacciata con uva cuisinefiend.com

6. 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 loaf and leave to prove for an hour again.

7. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Bake the schiacciata for about 30 minutes, cool slightly on a wire rack and serve warm with mascarpone.

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