Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.
Makes 1 Large Rectangular Flat Bread
Walking through the miles and miles of vineyards at Castello Banfi is meditative. From the back of the castello, Mount Sant'Amiata, a now defunct volcano, casts a looming presence over the sloping vines. This unforgettable landscape builds hope if you are a winemaker of good harvest to come and spectacular wines to follow. When it is vendemmia, (harvest season), the grapes will be plucked and carried away on huge trucks to the winery. There they begin their slow transformation into wine. Grapes that are not good enough for the crush are good enough for schiacciata con l'uva, a sweet, flat yeast bread embedded with grapes.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110ºF)
6 tablespoons sugar
5 1/2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rosemary needles, finely minced
2 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, stemmed, washed, and dried
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
In a small bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups of the flour with the salt and add it to the yeast mixture. Work the ingredients with your hands until a ball of dough forms. Add additional flour as needed, but do not make the dough too stiff. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until it is smooth.
Grease a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil and turn the dough in it. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Brush a 17 1/2 x 11 1/4-inch baking sheet with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Place a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit the bottom and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
After the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Spread it out roughly with your hands and sprinkle the rosemary over the top. Fold the dough over the rosemary and knead it a few times to evenly distribute the rosemary. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 20 16-inch rectangle. Place the dough in the pan, stretching it about 1 inch over the sides of the pan. Brush the dough with the remaining olive oil; scatter the grapes evenly over the top and press them into the dough with your hands. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the grapes.
Bring the overhanging pieces of dough from the 2 longest sides toward the middle and pinch the seam together. Cut most of the excess dough off the 2 remaining short sides, leaving about 1/2 inch extending. Then fold the dough in on itself, pinching the ends closed. Use a fork to crimp the 2 short ends. The finished size should be about 15 8 inches.
Re-roll the dough scraps and make a decorative pattern on top. I use a small knife to cut leaves and vines and I use small balls of dough to make a bunch of grapes.
Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 30 minutes. Brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining sugar.
Bake on the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until the dough is nicely browned on top and bottom.
Let the schiacciata cool for 30 minutes. Then carefully lift it out with the parchment paper onto a wire rack. Let it cool to warm. Carefully pull the parchment paper away from the bottom, or leave it in place and remove after cutting the schiacciata into serving pieces. This is best served warm the day it is made.
This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA IN TUSCANY by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2003.