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Sfingiuni, or: Pizza Fritta alla Siciliana

More Sfinguini, or Sfincioni


Barbara's Sfincioni

The Internet is a strange and wonderful thing, and certainly the best information exchange system ever devised. Barbara very kindly posted the recipes below to the Italian Cuisine Forum.

I am a 60 year old Grandmother of Sicilian decent. My grandmother and grandfather came from Sicily. When I got the newsletter and saw Vincent's request for the recipe for Sfincione, I just had to send my family recipe for this most delicious dish, as I have a son whose name is also Vincent and he can eat this like it is going out of style. We have always called it "faccia anziana della donna " "old woman's face", cause that is what it looks like. The recipe is my Grandmother Dominica's. This is good right out of the oven and we even eat it cold right out of the refrigerator. It does not last long in our home.

Mangiare e godere!

Grandma Dominica's Sfincione
  • 1 pound chub sausage (can use Italian Sausage too)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano or more to taste
  • 1 small can anchovies
  • Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh or frozen bread dough
Spread bread dough in baking pan to approximately 1 inch thick. Let rest while preparing topping. Fry sausage in pan, crumbling as you fry. Add oregano when sausage is almost done. With hands spread olive oil on dough. Break anchovies into small pieces and poke into dough making a checkered pattern. When sausage/oregano mixture is cooked spread over dough. Sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan cheese over top. Bake in 400 F oven for approximately 20 minutes or until done. Sausage/oregano will finish cooking on top of Sfincione in oven.

COOK'S NOTE: I use Pillsbury Bread Dough found in the Dairy Case at the grocery. Unfold bread dough all the way to thinnest size.

The following is a recipe that I found in a Cookbook years ago, and I do not remember the name of the Cookbook. My mother used to make her own dough many years ago. I have also eaten it with the tomato topping and when seasoned properly it is really good although I prefer the one my Grandmother made.

Sicilian Sfincione

  • 2 pounds (1kg) tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Scant 1/4 cup (50ml) olive oil
  • Anchovies
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups (300ml) warm milk (110 F, 43 C)
  • 2 pkgs. active dry yeast
  • 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 ounces (75g) pitted ripe olives, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 ounces (100 g) crumbled caciocavallo or grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil, if desired
To make topping: peel and chop tomatoes, Combine tomatoes, garlic, onions, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Cover and set aside. Flavor will improve while mixture stands.

To make dough: stir sugar into warm milk and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand 5 minutes or until the surface is frothy. Stir gently to moisten any dry particles remaining on top. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Lightly beat egg into yeast mixture. Pour into flour mixture, combining to make a dough. On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth and springy, 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place 25 minutes. Brush baking sheets with oil. Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). On a floured surface, lightly knead risen dough; divide into 4 to 6 pieces. Roll out pieces into individual rounds; place on oiled baking sheets. Top each round with tomato mixture. Scatter olives and oregano over pizza. Sprinkle caciocavallo or Parmesan cheese over topping. Bake 20 minutes or until edges are brown. Sprinkle with olive oil on removal from oven, if desired.

Baking Sheet Sfincione

The yeast dough should be rolled out to the size of a large baking sheet, about 13 inches (33 cm) square. Pierce dough several times with a fork to avoid bubbling during baking. Prepare tomato topping as in the previous recipe and spread over dough. Sprinkle the surface with fresh, coarsely chopped peppermint leaves and a teaspoon of chopped basil, if available. Use twice the quantity of ripe olives and sprinkle with 1-1/2 cups (175 g) shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake sfincione 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated 425 F (220 C) oven.

COOK'S TIP: Although Sfincione are similar to the Neapolitan pizza, it would be unforgivable to call this Sicilian specialty a pizza. Sfincione were originally made form local products and Sicilians maintain that they were baking them before anyone in Italy had thought of making a pizza. Sfincione are typical of the baking of peasants and farm workers. They may be baked in small round cakes or as one cake on a baking sheet.

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