September is "vendemmia" time in Italy. Grape picking is a busy time for farmers and families who make their own wine.
I grew up helping grape picking at my grandfather's house. It used to be cause for celebration and the whole family would gather to help. You would pick the juicy grapes whilst chit-chatting and gossiping at the same time. It was a messy job though especially when picking black grapes!
We all knew that after all the hard work there was a reward which made all the efforts worthwhile: a big meal or better a proper feast made by grandma who was an excellent cook. We all looked forward to her wonderful pasta bakes, roast home reared chicken and wonderful fresh fruit tarts which fruit, of course, came straight from her garden. She was the queen of the kitchen. To these days I still miss her cooking.
My granddad only had a small vineyard so the wine would have been for the family's consumption. I used to look forward to "vendemmia day" just like I looked forward to Christmas!
Grapes can also be used in baking and if you choose different types they can make pretty and colourful cakes.
This focaccia is a quick one and very easy to make. If you have time you could swap the baking powder for active dry yeast (used for baking bread) or fresh one which will make the focaccia softer and even more fragrant. For this you will need to let the dough raise for a couple of hours.
- Prep Time : 30 minutes
- Cook Time : 50 minutes
Wash the grapes.
Whip the yolks with 150 g or ¾ cup of sugar, add the olive oil and the lemon zest incorporating the ingredients well. Then add the milk and the flour and stir them well in
Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the remaining sugar then add them gently to the mixture
Lay a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and pour half of the mixture and put some grapes over it
cover them with the other half of the mixture and put the remaining grapes on top
Sprinkle some brown sugar over it
and cook at 170C or 340F for 50 minutes until golden.