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Florentine Grape Focaccia

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If you’re fortunate enough to have found a cluster or two of brilliantly purple Concord grapes at the local greenmarket, congratulations!  Because they’re undoubtedly one of the most delicious (but oh too fleeting) treats of the fall season. But if you really want to make the most of Concords, don’t try eating them as table grapes (too many seeds), or resorting to expected recipes for jelly or pie.  Take a cue from the Italians and celebrate with the Florentine specialty known as Shiacciata all’uva, or Grape Focaccia.  Made exclusively during harvest season, the not-too-sweet dough serves as the perfect showcase for glorious, juicy, fresh off the vine Concord grapes!

Concord Grape Focaccia

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
3 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
½ teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 1/2 pounds of Concord grapes, rinsed and destemmed.
Olive oil, for greasing
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary

Directions:Dissolve the yeast in warm water, and combine it with the flour, salt and sugar, adding additional water if needed to make a workable dough.  Knead it well, and place in a lightly greased bowl, loosely covered with a dishcloth or plastic wrap.  Set the dough to rise in a warm place for at least an hour, or until it has doubled in volume.

When the dough has doubled in volume, separate it into two pieces and press into rectangles of the same size (about 12 by 9 inches).  Grease a baking pan well with olive oil and lay one of the rectangles of dough into it.  Cover the dough with a bit more than half the grapes, pressing gently so they stick into the dough.  Lay the second sheet of dough over the first and cover it with grapes, pressing down gently.

Liberally sprinkle the top of the dough with sugar and the rosemary.  Set to rise in a warm place, covered, for at least another hour.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until golden brown.

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