Tuscany’s Sweet Grape Bread
“Wine is sunlight held together by water”. A great Italian wrote that. Can you guess who? It’s the same man as the one who said: “And yet it moves!” I’ll give you the answer at the end of this post – don’t cheat, read the article first!
Vines… as far as the eye can see… From the end of August to early October, they are ripening everywhere in Italy. In the vicinity of our Trust & Travel holiday homes, most vineyards are grown for the purpose of producing wine. Because they all have seeds and a thick skin, their grapes are not exactly at their best when you eat them right off the vine.
Still, apart from being turned into wine, these grapes can be prepared, with a little know-how, into a nice culinary delight called schiaccia all’uva, sweet grape bread – which actually taste best when made with the winemaking grape varieties (like the Fragolino), rather than with the eating or table varieties. Tuscans traditionally earmarked a small portion of the grape crop for this delicious recipe.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make your schiaccia all’uva.
500 grams of flour
25 grams of yeast (the type sold in small yellow cubes)
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
400 milliliters of water
Local grapes – again of the winemaking variety, not the table one, – will be used for the topping
2-4 tablespoons of brown suger
Coarsely ground nuts (optional)
Now, let’s roll up our sleeves… First, dilute the yeast in half a glass of lukewarm water, then start to mix it with part of the flour. Add the salt to the flour and the olive oil to the water, and keep mixing and kneading till you reach the consistency of a bread dough.
After letting the dough rest for several hours, spread it out and squash it – the Italian verb schiacciare means to crush or squash. Then put the grapes and the nuts on top of the dough and sprinkle them with the brown sugar. Finally, bake your schiaccia at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Emiko Davies has a great schiaccia all’uva recipe on her blog. Her grape bread has two layers instead of one. This is an often-seen alternative version to the above-mentioned recipe. Personally, I have a little bias towards the single layer rendering.
OK, now back to our initial quiz… And the answer is… Galileo Galilei!
You had figured that out, hadn’t you?