A Traditional Tuscan treat using grapes from the Vine
Schiacciata con l’Uva is a wine-grape slice and is a traditional cake made in Florence and the Chianti region during the Autumn Vendemmia – when the grapes are being harvested. You will see it in most bakery windows from mid-September. I love it and find it difficult to walk past our delish local bakery, Pugi without buying a small slice. Some people use red wine when making it but I think if you have the true wine grapes from the vine, then it is not necessary. I was lucky enough last week to be driving through the gorgeous Chianti countryside near Rufina when I noticed all the vines drooping heavily with their latest fruit offering so I decided to assist them and lighten their load by borrowing a few bunches of grapes so that I could try to make the schiacciata myself.
You can use ready-made bread dough or puff pastry for a quick dessert but the recipe I am sharing includes the preparation of the dough. This dough is also more savoury than sweet as you use a lot of sugar in the layers but feel free to also use your own favourite pastry recipe.
You will need :
- 400gm Plain Flour Type ‘0’
- 12gms fresh yeast
- 4 tablespoons Sugar + extra for assembly
- 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil + extra
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon aniseeds + extra
- 1.5-2kg wine grapes, preferable straight off the vine. (Canaiolo Grapes if you can get them)
Preheat Oven to 170°C
Pre-heat oven to 170°C – (fan-forced)
- Dissolve yeast in luke-warm water. Remove grapes from the stems. Rinse & Drain.
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, oil, salt and aniseeds. Add the yeast and enough additional water to form a firm dough. Form the dough into a ball, slice a cross in the top, place in a bowl and cover with cling-film. Let it rise to double in size.
- Divide the dough into two and roll out the first half until it is about 2mm thick.
- Oil a baking tray and lay the dough on top, then layer the grapes over the top in a single layer so that all the dough is covered. Leave a 2cm border around the edges.
- Sprinkle extra olive oil, sugar (to taste depending on how sweet the grapes are) and aniseeds over grapes.
- Roll out the second half of dough and lay on top of the first layer. ‘Tuck it in’ at the edges and pinch to close. Press down on the top to ensure that most of the air has been removed.
- Sprinkle more grapes over the top layer, then sprinkle again with olive oil, sugar and the aniseeds.
- Bake for about 1 hour checking to see that the grapes on top don’t burn. Turn the oven down to 160°C if needed. You know your own oven so just keep an eye on the pastry and it will be ready when it is a nice golden brown.
Serve warm ………… because you won’t be able to wait until it goes cold! ……… even though it is equally as nice cold.
I think it would also be perfect with a dollop of double cream – the Italians don’t do that because you can’t buy double cream here!! Aghh tragic I know! but mascarpone would be equally as good!
For another variation, mix a bit of rosemary into the dough.