Oh, the joy of revisiting long-forgotten nooks and crannies on the Tyrian map~! There’s always something delicious to be found where you least expect it! As I was whirling around, trying to catch up on some quests and treasure hunts stowed away on the back burners for the summer, I came across a couple of Ogres tending to and very enthusiastically defending their little vineyard. Of course, my little Asura snuck a couple of grapes and went her merry way, while my less-digital self in front of the screen started thinking about grapes and the kitchen-related possibilities having a bunch of grapes in the house would open up…
The one and only item Tyria’s Chef’s Guild has on offer – obviously taking the ah… “special” hazards the grape harvest entails in Tyria into account – is this:
For some reason, the idea of a pie like that didn’t quite appeal at the time, so I started rummaging through my headspace for delicious things close to but not quite like the general idea of a pie. Luckily, I picked the perfect time of the year to contemplate a grape pie – A quick glance around this side of the screen and its surrounding areas leave no doubt about the grape harvest with all the fixings is in full swing. In just a few blinks of time, wine festivals, open tastings and other hazards will be raging just around the corner, no matter where you’re standing at any given moment – even far away from the vineyards, in the middle of our cities. Balmy autumn evenings, lots of nice people, good music, fine wining and, of course, food made to fit the theme of the shindig… Good times~! In our corner of the world, the traditional items on the grape-menu for such street-foody affairs are more on the sweet side of things – steamed, grape-filled yeast buns, grape sponge cakes or pinwheels, golden yeast wreaths brimming with fresh grapes and so on. Thanks to the proximity to the french border, grape tartes and “Flammkuchen” – basically the Alsatian version of a very very thin-crusted pizza, in this case sweet for once – are also an option. But my absolute favorite of this particular grape’ish bunch comes from a little further down south – from Italy. I had my first slices of this delicious “Pizza-pie-grape-thing” as I called it back in those days, during my childhood holidays near Rome, and the memory of it never faded. With a few twists and tweaks to a classic recipe, I was able to hit the taste-mark of the Schiacciata that had burned itself so deeply into the food-section of my head, and now I’ve found the perfect opportunity to share it with you guys! So, thanks to the Ogres, a meeting at exactly the right time, burned fingers and lips as a child and the Guild’s Grape Pie, here’s my take on the matter~
The Schiacciata all’Uva
500g fresh Wholegrain Wheat Pizza Dough – freshly made or a high-quality store-bought one, the choice is up to you~
400-500g Red Grapes – my personal pick for this kind of thing are light red/rosé grapes since they don’t usually have enough time on the vine to develop a thick skin that might have an impact on the texture of the dish
2 bushy Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary, roughly chopped
2-3 generous Cracks of Black Pepper
2 generous Pinches of Coarse Sea Salt
1-2 Tbsp Extra Fine Caster Sugar – for the top layer
A generous Sprinkling of Cinnamon – for the top layer
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Butter for the tray
A quick word on the pizza dough before we get this show on the road~ As far as I know, this one’s usually made with a regular pizza dough – but when I was trying to recreate the “Grape Flatbread” of my memories, something I couldn’t put my finger on was always missing. Only when I whipped one up on a whim and “had to” use wholegrain flour, due to the lack of plain wheat flour in the house, did I notice what it was – there had always been a sort-of nutty note to the crust of the Schiacciata back then, more full-bodied than a regular wheat dough. I played around with the dough on the following batches and, by now, I’m sure they either used wholegrain flour or replaced about 1/3 of the wheat flour with either buckwheat or chestnut flour. If you’re making the dough yourself, both are excellent options – just don’t go past the 1/3 mark, the crust might turn hard and crumbly on you. The wholegrain version is the safe-bet option, closest to the original on this one – plus, in case you’re cutting corners, easy to come by in the fresh-dough section of most supermarkets.
1) Get started by preheating your oven to 200°C.
2) Pick a tarte tin or a simple baking tray to fit the shape you have in mind for your Schiacciata and generously line it with butter.
In case you have a pizza stone at your disposal, rub it with a few drops of olive oil and sprinkle the surface with some semolina to keep the dough from sticking to it.
If you’re going with the tray-option, make sure you put some extra effort into pinching the open sides of the dough-layers closed later on to prevent major grape-juice seepages.
3) Once you’re done with the prep, stretch and flatten the dough to fit the form or lay it out flat in your tray, leaving ½ of the dough hanging off of the sides.
4) Squish the grapes between your fingers to break open the skins and release the juices into the dough – and to avoid an exploding-cake experience – and evenly spread ½ of them out on this first layer of dough.
5) Sprinkle the grapes with a generous pinch of salt, a hearty crack of pepper and ½ of the rosemary needles before drizzling the lot with half of the olive oil.
6) Gently fold the remaining dough over the grapes, press down on the surface to snugly encase the trapped grapes – just be careful not to push them around too much – and pinch down the edges. If you’re using a round tarte form, press the edges of the dough into the curves and up the rim for about ½ – 1 cm to create a pretty, wavy rim to hold in the top layer. Make sure to brush the rim with some olive oil while you’re at it.
7) Distribute the remaining grapes and rosemary on top of the newly covered first layer and, again, after a generous seasoning with salt flakes and pepper, drizzle the lot with the remaining olive oil.
8) Evenly dust the surface with the cinnamon, closely followed by the sugar.
9) Pop the tin into the oven and leave the heat to do its job for about 20 mins – the rim will tell you when it’s about time to leave the oven by turning a pretty golden-brown. For an extra crispy end to the story, turn on the grill for the last 5 mins of the cooking-time.
10) It’s best served as soon as it comes out of the oven – just give it a few minutes to steam off before plating up~Oh, and… careful on the first bite. Hot, juicy grapes~!