Focaccia (or schiacciata) con l’uva (with grapes) is an autumn sweet treat that you can find in many parts of Italy: where there are grapes, there is some sort of (more or less enriched) bread dough topped with black grapes and sugar. Arguably the most well know version is the Tuscan one, where the grape studded bread dough is enriched with oil, sugar, chopped rosemary, and with or without fennel seeds or aniseed. Lately I have discovered a different, more unusual version from Lombardy, which I now prefer. Olive oil is replaced by butter, and the final focaccia is tender, almost brioche-like, rich but not over the top.
I used sable grapes, seedless, aromatic and sweet, but any good black grapes can be used of course, with or without pips. I have also tried this schiacciata (Carsenza con l’uga, in Milanese dialect) adding a little chopped rosemary and aniseed seeds – an inauthentic but delicious addition. You will need a bread dough that is ready to be used, any one will do; I used this two day dough from master baker Jeffrey Hamelman. After the bulk fermentation, divide the dough and transfer the 500g piece you need onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough very gently into a rough rectangular, without forcing out the precious gasses out and transfer it onto the tray. Over the next couple of hours, gently pat the dough outwards, so as to cover the whole surface (see notes).
Focaccia con l”uva (as they used to make it in Lombardy)
Adapted from this book
An oven tray 27 x 37 cm, lightly oiled
500 g mature bread dough
400 g black grapes, washed and dried
100 g soft butter
100 g granulated sugar
1 scant tablespoon chopped rosemary, optional
1 teaspoon choped aniseed, optional
Place the grapes into the dough: add the chopped rosemary and aniseed, if using. Cover the focaccia with slivers of butter and the sugar
Bake at 190 for about 30 minutes, the first ten minutes in the lower part of the oven and then in the medium part. Remove and let it stand for 10 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack. It is at its best when barely warm.
To know how much dough per tray one needs for a medium high focaccia/tray pizza, here is a simple method: measure the length of the tray in centimetres and multiply it by the width of the tray. Then divide that figure by two. The result is the number of grammes you need per tray.
This focaccia keeps well for a couple of days, loosely covered with some tin foil. You can either warm it up or lightly toast it.