It seems like just yesterday we were in t-shirts and shorts and now I find myself reaching for the winter woolies. The seasons change here so quickly. The temperature can change from one day to another and for the last week there was an icy wind blowing about letting us all know that Autumn had arrived. The addition of the yellowing leaves flying around the city is a sure sign that we can safely say this long run of warm summer weather has come to an end. You can tell the Italians from the tourists very easily now. The Italians are already wearing their piumini (puffer jackets) of course have their scarves wrapped tightly around their necks to ward of any ‘change of season’ colds. The tourists are still wandering around in t-shirts and sandals!
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 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 country side near Rufina when I noticed all the wines drooping with their latest fruit offering. I decided to assist them and lighten the 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 desert but the recipe I am sharing includes the preparation of the dough. This dough is also more savory than sweet so you use a lot of sugar in the layers but feel free to also use your own favourite pastry recipe.
You will need :
350 grams Plain Flour
20 grams dry yeast
glass of warm water
800 grams black grapes (preferably from the wine vines)
150 grams caster sugar (this is Very Generous so feel free to use less)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Red Wine (optional)
Preheat Oven to 200 degrees celsius
Place flour, yeast and water in a bowl and mix until it forms a ball and comes away from the sides. then remove from the bowl and knead for a good 5 minutes. Place in the bowl, cover with a tea-towel and let it stand at room temperature for at least one hour. Once it has risen, knead the dough again, this time with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. When the oil is completely absorbed, knead a little bit more and then divide the dough into two.
Roll out the dough to your desired shape and size (You can use a pie dish or as you will see in the video I just rolled out my pastry to a rough rectangle shape so it was quite a rustic looking dessert). Spread your washed grapes over the pastry leaving about a 2cm border. Sprinkle generously with caster sugar. Some people choose to add the red wine at this stage and splash it over the grapes.
Roll out the remaining dough and place it over the grapes. Press down lightly so that you can hear the grapes popping a little under your hands and so that you can also see the indentations on the top layer of pastry. Then spread the rest of the grapes over this layer (they will fall into the grooves made by the first layer of grapes). Add more sugar. Be generous!
Brush the border with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle sugar over the top.
Bake in the oven for 30 mins, checking to ensure the grapes are not burning. Turn the oven down to about 180 – you know your own oven so just keep an eye on the pastry and when it is a nice golden brown.
Serve warm ………… because you wont 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!!!!)
Another variation is to mix a bit of rosemary into the dough.
My sister Toni has her version of Schiacciata con l’Uva on her blog so take a look as it is a bit different to mine. Also below is a video of me making the above recipe from 6 years ago so excuse the amateur quality!