Tuscan grape bread and Italian cheeses, the perfect snack or starter from Diana Henry's new book, How to Eat a Peach, (Mitchell Beazley, £25).
- 2tsp dried yeast
- 2tbsp caster sugar
- 300ml lukewarm water
- 500g strong white flour, plus extra to dust
- 4tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to oil a bowl
- Semolina, to dust
- 4tbsp raisins
- 8tbsp Marsala
- 500g seedless red grapes
- About 8 rosemary or thyme sprigs
- 1tbsp soft light brown sugar
- Taleggio, Gorgonzola or fontina and other strong Italian cheeses
- Halved fresh figs
- Put the yeast into a small bowl with 1tsp of the caster sugar and 2tbsp of the water. Stir, then leave somewhere warm to froth for 15 minutes or so.
- Put the flour into a bowl with 1tsp sea salt and the remaining caster sugar, and make a well in the middle. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix in the surrounding flour. (I usually begin with a butter knife, but you can use your hands from the start.) Gradually add the rest of the water, or as much as you need to make a soft, rather wet dough. When it has come together, knead it for 10 minutes. Put into a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover the bowl with cling film. Leave somewhere warm to rise for a couple of hours. It should double in size.
- ‘Knock back’ the dough by kneading it a little on a lightly floured surface. Shape into a round measuring roughly 23cm across. Put on a baking sheet dusted with semolina and leave to prove for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/mark 4. Put the raisins and Marsala in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then take the pan off the heat and leave the raisins to plump up. They should absorb all the liquid.
- Press the whole grapes into the dough and scatter with the rosemary or thyme (use a mixture of leaves and stems).
- Sprinkle with the brown sugar and drizzle on the 4tbsp oil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the bread is cooked (if you tap underneath, it should sound slightly hollow). Ten minutes before the end of cooking time, spoon the raisins over the top.
- Leave to cool slightly and serve warm, or at room temperature.