It cannot be said that life in Tuscany is always straightforward. But when it is, it is ‘the ultimate form of sophistication’ (so said Leonardo da Vinci). This bread is exactly that. It is tied inextricably to the harvest and is traditionally made using the Canaiolo grape; if you cannot put your hands on Canaiolo where you are then you can replace this with black skinned Concord grapes. It’s not a great idea to use normal table grapes, so if you can’t find Concord, it’s better to replace with another fruit such as blueberries, which are a delicious alternative.
Easy to make, it is wonderful for merenda on a cool autumnal afternoon or to round off a dinner. We challenge you to have just the one piece!
500g Type 00 Flour
400ml lukewarm water
1 tsp active dried yeast
450g Canaiolo/ Concord grapes
5 tbsp granulated sugar
75ml Montecalvi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Prepare the dough a couple of hours ahead of time to allow the flavours to fully develop.
Dissolve the yeast in a couple of tablespoons of lukewarm water with a tablespoon of flour and set aside until small bubbles begin to form – if this doesn’t happen, discard and start again.
Then, in a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and add this above yeast mixture. Add the rest of the water little by little and work the dough with your hands. The flour must absorb all of the water, you don’t want the consistency of a batter. Once the dough is complete, add a tablespoon of Montecalvi Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Place your dough on a well-floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes until it is elastic and the dimples bounce back. Return it to the bowl and cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for at least an hour until it has doubled in size. If you happen to be doing this in the evening and run out of time, you can put the dough in the fridge overnight where it will rise more slowly but the resulting flavours will be superior.
When you are ready to assemble your schiacciata, wash the grapes and pat dry with kitchen paper and then separate them from their stems. No need to de-seed.
Prepare a rectangular baking tray by brushing generously with olive oil and heat the oven to 180C/350F.
Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a well-floured work surface and divide into two balls. Roll one ball out to a rectangle shape, roughly the size of the pan and then place it in the pan expanding to the corners with your fingers.
Then scatter around 2/3 of the grapes on top of the dough along with half of the sugar and half of the olive oil.
Roll out the second ball of dough and place on top to create a grape sandwich.
Close the two layers of dough around the edges by pinching together and then gently prod the top of the dough to create dimples.
Finally, on the top, add the remaining grapes and sprinkle over the remaining sugar and olive oil.
Bake for around 25-30 minutes until you have a golden crunchy top and the grapes are cooked and oozing.
Schiacciata is typically served cold and is best enjoyed on the day of baking. It is remarkably good alongside a glass of Montecalvi Chianti Classico, creating a true flavour of Tuscany that couldn’t be more seasonal.