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Focaccia with Black Grapes

by Rose Gray, Ruth Rogers from The River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook

Enjoy a classic Italian recipe with this grape-studded focaccia from The River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook. Serve at breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.

From the book


In Italy, desserts and cakes are often fruit-based and dry, like this schiacciata, a flat bread traditionally made during the grape harvest with whichever wine grapes are being harvested. In Tuscany this would be the small Sangiovese grapes. A guest arrived at the house we were staying in with a present of a schiacciata made with sweet table grapes, because the wine grapes were not ripe. We couldn’t wait to taste it, so we ate it with our coffee for breakfast. Later we had it as a dessert after lunch and, as it sat on the table during the  afternoon, everyone who passed by brokeoff a piece. By evening it was gone.

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extra virgin olive oil
1kg black grapes
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp fennel seeds
For the dough:
25g fresh yeast
200ml water
4 tbsp sugar
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
500g plain flour

Essential kit

You will need a 30 x 40cm baking tray


Dissolve the yeast in the water and mix in the sugar, the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place the flour in a heap on a wide work surface and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast mixture, mix well, and knead for at least 15 minutes. Put into a bowl, cover with a cloth, and let it rise for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Knock back the dough and divide into two. Grease a 30 x 40cm baking tray with olive oil and press out half the dough as thin as possible, making sure there are no holes. Spread with about half the grapes, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds, and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with the remaining dough, crimp the edges and spread the remaining grapes, sugar, olive oil and fennel seeds on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until very brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting into squares to serve.


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