By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Today I want to share with you a typical ancient autumn recipe we like to cook in Tuscany—Schiacciata Con L'uva (Focaccia with Harvest Grapes). It is a simple and tasty peasant cake used to celebrate Vendemmia, the grape harvest.
Tuscan cooking has peasant origins and uses simple seasonal ingredients that follow the rhythms of nature. This is a truly seasonal recipe, and you’ll love this sweet Florentine grape bread. Its origins date back to the time of the Etruscans, who used this ritual cake to celebrate the harvest season.
It is as ancient as it is delicious, and it’s also vegan!
* Remember that in the original version, it is absolutely forbidden to remove the seeds from the grapes . . . and don't forget to add anise seeds!
Schiacciata Con L'uva
For the dough:
1 oz (12 g) fresh yeast 1 cup lukewarm water 14 oz (400 g) plain flour 3 oz (80 g) sugar Pinch of salt
3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the filling and topping: 2 lbs (1 kg) small black Canaiola Chianti grapes Extra virgin olive oil 8 Tbs sugar
1 tsp crushed anise seeds
Dissolve yeast in 2 Tbs of lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add water a little at a time and gently add the dissolved yeast to make a dough, kneading with your hands.
Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Leave in a warm place for a couple of hours to let it rise.
Divide the risen dough into halves.
Heat the oven to 180 C°.
Roll one piece of dough out to ½ cm thick.
Place it on an oiled baking tray.
Cover the dough with half of the grapes and 1 tsp crushed anise seeds.
Drizzle the grapes with a little olive oil and then sprinkle with four tablespoons of sugar.
Roll the second piece of dough out.
Place it over the grapes and seal the schiacciata with oily fingers.
Cover the top with the remaining grapes and sprinkle four tablespoons of sugar over them.
Bake for 35 mins.
Let cool and serve.
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), The Grimore, The Magic of the Moon, and Magic Herbs (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).