This is a very traditional flatbread commonly found in central Italy, Tuscany in particular, during the grape harvest. Sweet, ripe grapes are used to fill and top focaccia that is lightly seasoned with fresh rosemary. The addition of sugar allows the grapes to soften and sweeten creating almost a jam-like effect that is truly addictive. This bread can be enjoyed at breakfast, dessert, or as any anytime snack.
Here in Italy, unless you are lucky enough to have the purple wine grapes available, uva fragola grapes are used. These are small, very sweet grapes that do have seeds, but as the seeds are small I do not worry about them. These grapes are similar in flavor to concord grapes, but since concord grapes (and their seeds) are much larger, if using them, you should seed the grapes before adding them to the focaccia.
I have made grape harvest focaccia a number of times in the past but used the grapes to top the focaccia only. A Facebook friend, Judy Witts Feancini, owner of the Divina Cucina blog, posted photos of her schiacciata con l’uva recently, and it was stuffed with a layer of grapes as well as being topped with them. Judy’s schiacciata looked amazing, so I decided to give it a try. I ended up making this delicious and ever so addicting flatbread three times over the past month so I could share it with our farmhouse guests, who all enjoyed it. The combination of grapes and sugar create a very juicy mixture that is quite runny when hot, so I use a baking sheet with 1-inch sides to ensure none of the juices run over onto my oven floor. I also learned from personal experience, that because of the grape jam which is bubbling hot when first removed from the oven, it is best to allow the schacciata to cool to just warm before slicing.
Deborah Mele 2014
For The Focaccia Dough:
- 5 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Instant Yeast
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus 2 Additional Tablespoons To Oil Bowl)
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 3/4 Cups Warm Water
For The Filling & Topping:
- 2 Pounds Wine Grapes (See Notes), Stemmed & Rinsed
- 3/4 Cup Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Rosemary
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water.
- Add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
- Add half the water and stir.
- Continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
- Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
- Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
- Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
- Roll the ball of dough around in the oil ensuring the sides of the bowl and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. (I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)
- Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
- Divide the dough in half, and place half on a large 13 x 10 inch baking pan (I use one with 1-inch sides).
- Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil, and scatter half the grapes over the dough.
- Sprinkle the grapes with half the sugar and rosemary.
- Stretch the other half of the dough over the dough in the pan to cover, pinching the two doughs together to encase the grapes inside.
- Spread the other half grapes over the dough, and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
- Use the rest of the sugar and rosemary on the grapes.
- Let the dough rest, and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Once the oven has reached temperature, bake the focaccia until it is golden brown and the grapes are bubbly and soft, about 45 minutes.
- Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.