If you are a lover of traditional street-food you absolutely must know the history and the recipe of thesfincione (U Sfinciuni).
A distant cousin of Neapolitan pizza, the sfincione has profound differences that make him a unique and distinct dish.
At first glance, the less experienced can confuse it with a simple focaccia or stuffed pizza, but behind this characteristic Sicilian street-food product there is a world!!
History and origins
Let's go back a few hundred years.
Palermo monastery of San Vito..
Legend has it that it was the nuns of the monastery of San Vito who gave life to the sfincione.
Their intent was to create a dish for the holidaysrich with the few poor ingredients they had.
Thus starting from flour, water and tomato sauce, they created the firstprototype of sfincione, partially modified over time, while maintaining the typical singularities.
It should also be said that initially the sfincioni were prepared exclusively for the ecclesiastical feasts, later it became a symbol of the’appuntamientu (the engagement party..
As for the Sfinci, also for the Sfincioni the etymological root remains in the balance between Arabic and Latin.
However, one is sure about the translation of the terms, which in both cases meanssponge.
It is probably a reference to the softness and softness of the products that make one think of a sponge.
Any Palermo street urchin grew up with the cries of
& Lt;Who cciàvuru! Càvuru, càvuru! & Gt;
Translating it from the Sicilian to Italian means: What a fragrance! Hot, hot!
To shout this phrase out loud was the sfincionaro on his Lambretta, who with wheels laden with sfincioni went around Palermo to sell his products.
But let's go back in time.
At the beginning of the twentieth century it was possible to witness a fact that today we would consider unusual, but that at the time consisted in everyday life.à.
Although everyone had their ownmaidda(wooden tub used for kneading few people could afford a private oven..
As people then baked
There were and still exist some of the common ovens, dating back to Roman times and with a low vault, which allowed the perfect cooking of many bread products.ne.
Clearly the owners of the oven were rewarded with products of the earth, or in any case food products.
Palermo Vs Bagheria
To compete for the title of“Capo Sfincione” are the two wonderful Sicilian cities Palermo and Bagheria.
As we have seen, the myth tells that the origins of the sfincione are from Palermo.
Bagheria, however, has been able to impose its product, enough to elect the sfincione as a dish that represents the country.
The difference between the two lies in the filling, or as the Sicilians say“conza”:
Born for the Christmas holidays, it recalls the shades of red(?)
Tomato, anchovies, onion and caciocavallo are the masters, creating a soft and juicy blanket that wraps the bread below.
Typical sfincione, born from the genius of the Bagheresi bakers. Characterized by the layered arrangement of the ingredients and the typically white color. Prepared with salted anchovies, extra virgin olive oil, fresh cheese and dulcis in fundo crumb of fresh flavored and toasted bread.
Recipe: Ingredients and Preparation
After having extensively praised the sensational characteristics and the interesting story of the sfincione, the time has come to move on to the practical part..
Below you will find the recipe of Sfincione Palermitano, the ancient dish prepared for Christmas day..
Let's start with the ingredients:
For the dough::
- Type 0 flour: 500 g
- Water: 350 ml
- Brewer's yeast: 5 g
- Malt: 7 g
- Extra virgin olive oil: 60 ml
- Salt: 15 g
For the dressing:
- Tomato pulp: 600 ml
- White Onions: 3
- Extra virgin olive oil: 50 ml
- Caciocavallo: 150 g
- Breadcrumbs: 40 g
- Anchovies in oil: 60 gg
- Salt to taste.
- Black pepper: to taste
- Oregano: to taste
For a proper sfincione, the preparation of the dough plays a fundamental role. So give us all possible attention if you want to eat a truly unique dish..
For the dough::
- In amaidda or in a simple planetary mixer, pour in the flour, baking powder and dorzo malto
- Mix the powders first add the oil and gradually also the water strictly at room temperaturente)
- Add the salt and continue to knead until the dough detaches easily from the walls of the container where you are kneading
- Once well mixed, place it on a greased baking sheet and cover it with cling film or a wet tea towel.
- Let it rise until it doubles its volume About 2 hourse)
For the dressing:
- Finely slice the white onions into slices, do not chope)
- Bring a modest amount of extra virgin olive oil to temperature and fry the onionse
- Add salt and pepper and water
- After a few minutes of cooking, cook the anchovy fillets until they melt completely
- Add the tomato pulp now and add salt and pepper again clearly taste!!)
- Continue cooking over low heat for about 30 minutes.
- Now prepare the crumb making it toasted in a pan with a little olive oila
- In a plate prepare the diced caciocavallo and keep it ready
- Resume the dough that at this point should have finished risinge
- Take a baking sheet and grease it with olive oilva
- Spread the dough with your palms on the baking tray, trying to be as delicate as possible. Not use a rolling pin!
- Once stretched, let it rest for another 15 minutes
- Now pour the sauce you prepared previously
- Continue to stuff the sfincione with the caciocavallo and toasted breadcrumbs
- Cover everything with a little oregano
- We can finally bake! Preheat the oven to 200C and cook everything for about 50 minutes..
What you have created is not only a tasty and ideal dish at any time of the day.
It is culture, tradition, love and history. It's like rediscovering a piece of Sicily with each bite. Enjoy your meal.