Focaccia with Black Grapes

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Feeds

    10

    … Fed 4 For a Day

Appears in

Fogg and Passepartout’s journey from London towards Suez is undertaken at a clip, but a memorandum in Fogg’s notebook confirms that their itinerary will take them through Paris and then on to Italy. This extraordinary bread was served to me warm for breakfast by the beloved, late, Rose Gray of the River Café at the Tuscan home of chef Ruthie Rogers. Possibly the best bread I’ve ever eaten, it was traditionally made to feed the grapepickers of Tuscany during harvest time, using some of the fruit that they had just gathered. It’s so good we nibbled on it all day, until it was gone.

Ingredients

  • 25g/1oz fresh yeast
  • 200ml/7fl oz water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing and drizzling
  • Sea salt
  • 500 g/1lb 2oz plain flour
  • 1kg/2lb 2oz black grapes
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fennel seeds

Method

Dissolve the yeast in the water and add the sugar, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Put the flour in a mound on a wide clean work surface, and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast mixture, mix well, and knead for at least 15 minutes. Put the resulting dough into a bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and grease a 30 x 40cm/12 x 16 inch baking tray with olive oil.

Take the dough, knock it back, and divide it into two. Press out one half of the dough on to the prepared baking tray as thinly as possible, making sure there are no holes. Spread with half the grapes, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds, and drizzle with olive oil. Press out the remaining dough and use it to cover the first half, crimping the edges and spreading the remaining grapes, sugar, and fennel seeds on top. Drizzle again with olive oil.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until brown and crisp. Allow to cool before serving, if you can resist.

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