Grape Focaccia

It’s grape season in the garden & whilst I do love those dark purple bunches, each September I end up scratching my head as to what to actually do with them. Over the years they’ve usually found their way into chutney or thrown into the jam pan along with all of the other odd bits of fruit from the garden.

Determined to use them up a little differently this year (I mean, there’s obviously still a chutney), I figured I’d take a little inspiration from my travels in Italy. Usually (read:Pre-Covid) I’d find myself somewhere in the country during the month of September, just in time for the wine harvest season. Obviously, I’m not there for the wine, I’m more about the baked goods.

With the wine harvest though comes schiaccita all’uva. Schiacciata is simply the Tuscan word for focaccia, it literally means ‘flattened’ or ‘squashed’, usually with the fingers of the baker. Schiacciata all’uva is the traditional sweet version of the bread which is made with the seasons wine grapes, usually those which might otherwise be discarded.

I figured this is as good a use as any for my grapes (mainly because I get to eat bread, always a win!), except for my own I wanted to steer away from mine being a dessert bread & rather something that could be eaten as a savoury or a sweet. In place of a scattering of sugar in mine, I’ve added a good sprinkling of sea salt, which works well with the sweet, almost jam-like baked grapes.

This focaccia is sweet, salty, crisp on the outside, light on the inside & with pockets of olive oil & bursting grapes, there as so many flavours & textures going on here for something so simple & rustic. Use good quality black grapes for this, such as a concord or sable & don’t be tempted to remove the seeds, it’s the crunch that makes this delightfully traditional.

GRAPE FOCACCIA

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g fast acting dried yeast
  • 50ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 350ml water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • Small handful of black grapes

Method:

  • In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast, salt & sugar
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients & pour in the olive oil & sugar
  • Mix until everything is wet & well combined
  • Empty the dough out onto a floured work surface & knead for 10 minutes (or for 5 minutes using a dough hook in a stand mixer) until it is smooth & elastic, it will be a loose, sticky dough
  • Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm or a bag for life & leave to rise for about an hour to an hour & a half, until it has doubled in size
  • Once your dough has risen, tip it out into a 9″x13″ rectangular cake tin
  • Use your fingers to gently stretch the dough out to fill the baking tin
  • Cover the dough again & leave to prove for 1 hour – 1hour, 30 minutes until well risen & doubled in size
  • With floured hands, press your fingers into the dough to create small holes & dimples
  • Next, take the grapes & drop them into some of the holes
  • Drizzle some olive oil over the top of the dough before sprinkling over the sea salt flakes
  • Bake the focaccia in the oven at 220C for 30 minutes
  • Slice & drizzle over an extra glug of olive oil for good measure
loaf


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