Italian grape cake (Schiavona ala uva)

8 fl oz olive oil (and maybe a bit more)

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary or lavender
1 packet dry yeast (half an ounce, a standard packet)
4 fl ounces warm water
12 oz plain (all purpose) flour
10 oz sugar
Half teaspoon salt
1 kilo concord grapes. seedless wine grapes, or other small red grapes OR 4 apples
Heat 4 oz oil with the rosemary (lavender…) allow to cool
Put the yeast into the water with a teaspoon of sugar, leave for 10 mins. It will floomph up and be all brown and weird. If it doesn’t the yeast was dead, start again with another packet.
Sift the flour into a bowl, add the yeast water stuff, add the oil with rosemary, add 3 oz of the sugar, and the salt. Knead well (using more oil if dry) until it comes away clean. Put in an oiled bowl somewhere warm away from drafts, cover with a cloth and leave to rest and rise for an hour (two hours is better). It should double in size.
Pre-heat oven to 180C
Wash and destalk the grapes, OR chop the apples into thin slices (32 per apple).
You want an oven dish that’s long and flat but has edges, so a rectangular cookie sheet, but not a totally flat one.
Take just over half the dough and roll out to the size of the dish. Put half the grapes or half the apple slices on top. If apples, sprinkle with cinnamon. Further, sprinkle with 4 ounces of sugar, and then pour over 2 oz of oil. Then roll out the other half the same size and shape and put it on top. It is OK if it doesn’t totally fit. Put the other half of the grapes on top, and push them down. If apples, still push down. This will squash the grapes in the middle, which is what you want. Sprinkle with 4 oz of sugar, a little bit of salt, and then pour over 2 oz of oil.
Bake for 1 hour until golden brown. Serve at room temperature. If you eat it irresponsibly hot and burn your tongue on the grapes, don’t blame me!
I have seen it in Italy with peaches, but not made it that way. I made it with apples as a last minute substitution because the grapes were mouldy, ugh, and it was great. You can eat it as cake, or for dessert, you could eat if for breakfast on a train when you’ve left Italy and slept badly on a train and everything is grey. I’ve been experimenting with making it the way they sell it in San Ambrogio market and I think I’ve got there. Photo next time.