When the baking bug bites me I seldom make much effort to resist. I adore the yeasty smell of proving dough almost as much as I love the smell of baking bread, the sweet smell of spices baking in soft rolls and the pungent smell of rosemary or oregano in oven fresh focaccia. The bug bit me big time on Sunday and I spent a happy day in the kitchen baking some cinnamon scrolls and ham, cheese and olive focaccia for the weekday lunchboxes. In the back of my brain my mind was mulling over the remains of my most recent produce box from Jupiter Creek Farm and what brilliantly inspired idea I could create for this week’s seasonal post. Lurking dejectedly in the corner were the last of the grapes from the box. Somehow they had missed out on the attentions of the kids and were fading fast when, thankfully, the not-always-reliable light bulb went off in my head.
The focaccia dough recipe I use is one I lifted and adapted from my lovely friend Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Like most of my favourite recipes it is ridiculously simple and lends itself beautifully to loads of further adaptions. Armed with that and the remaining grapes I had the makings of something I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages – schiacciata! A traditional autumn snack in Tuscany, schiacciata celebrates the grape harvest by combining the popular Italian flatbread, focaccia with the last of seasons wine grapes. While basically a simple peasant food, it can be found gracing the shelves of the best bakeries and tables early in the season. The word “schiacciata” means squashed or flattened in Italian, but this is not really necessary as the heat of the oven will split the grape skins, thus releasing and caramelising the sweet juice. I went down the traditional route, using rosemary in mine, but will be varying that with fennel seeds for my next batch. I served it warm with a big splodge of Woodside Cheesewright‘s goat curd and a generous drizzle of vinicotto and was in instant gastronomic glory. This really is one of those simple dishes which is greater than the sum of it’s parts and a perfect long weekend breakfast.
- 500 gms strong bakers flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 sachet of instant yeast (8 gms)
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 200 mls milk
- 120 mls water
- 50 mls good olive oil
- Bunch of red grapes or ¾ cup of raisins
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- Whisk flour, salt, rosemary and yeast together in a large bowl.
- Heat milk and water to blood temperature and add, with oil, to flour.
- Mix all together until combined in a rough dough.
- Cover and stand for ½ hr.
- Give it a very quick knead, cover again for 1 hour.
- Roll dough into circle of about 32-34 cm, place on greased and lined oven tray, cover and leave for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Press whole grapes (or raisins) into surface of dough, pushing into dough a little. Drizzle with more olive oil, then sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes.
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