Sicilian Christmas Pizza Recipe
The “Sfincione de San Giovanni” is better known as the Sicilian Christmas Pizza and is only served on special occasions including Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Good Friday and the Feast of San Giovanni.
Here at RECESS, we love sharing holiday traditions. Every Christmas Eve, it’s my tradition to whip up some festive casual dinner that’s easy to serve and allows my family and guests to eat whenever they want. Although my Christmas Eve meals are different each year, I typically have some type of fun festive theme. One year, I put together a Quesadilla Bar with all the fixings to allow my guests to create their own. I think the fact I received one of those quesadilla makers that year as a gift had something to do with it.
This year, I’m going Sicilian with the help of World Champion Pizza Chef, Bruno DiFabio with his recipe for a Sicilian Christmas Pizza.
Sicilian Christmas Pizza by Chef Bruno DiFabio
Sfincione de San Giovanni “Sicilian Christmas Pizza” Recipe
Ingredients for Dough:
1 pound of High Gluten Flour
1 1/2 cups of tap water
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of condensed milk
1 packet of dry active yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Combine tap water and yeast giving a little stir, then setting aside for five minutes. Stir once again to make sure the mixture is not clumpy. Add flour and mix for five minutes on speed one (Kitchen Aid mixer or the like of). Create a well in the dough and add the salt. Mix for two minutes on speed one. Create a well in the dough and add the condensed milk. Mix for two minutes on speed one. Create a well in the dough and add the extra virgin olive oil. Mix for two minutes on speed one or until it resembles a complete dough ball. Set the dough in a lightly oiled plastic container with a top. Refrigerate this dough ball for 48 hours. After this “cold rise fermentation period” allow dough ball to come to room temperature before slacking out the dough.
Ingredients for Sfincione Sauce:
3 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon of capers
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup red table wine
3 cups water
salt & pepper
Heat a large sauce pan on stove top. Add two tablespoons olive oil. Allow to shimmer then add onions, and capers. Sautee on high heat for ten minutes. Add red wine and cook on medium high heat until almost all liquid is gone. Add tomato paste. Continually stirring on medium high heat for additional two to three minutes. Add 3 cups of water and reduce down until mixture is very thick. Transfer to food processor and pulse until it is sauce like.
Ingredients for Bread Crumb Topping:
2 cups coarse plain bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1 tablespoon of chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon of cracked pepper
1 teaspoon of minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons of grated parmigiano reggiano
1 tablespoon of fresh oregano
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) of extra virgin olive oil
In a 350 degree oven, toast bread crumbs for eight to ten minutes. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
Ingredients for Classic Palermitana Sfincione di San Giovanni:
20 oil cured sicilian olives (pitted)
10 anchovy fillets (canned in oil or freshly gutted and marinated for 24 hours in salt and extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound Caccio Cavallo cheese
Bread Crumb Topping
Note: you will need a “teglia” pan (usually 12 by 18 inches) or two 10″ rounds
Take dough out of the fridge and let stand at room temperature for two hours or until it has reached ambient temperature. Generously grease the “teglia” pan with the extra virgin olive oil. Work the dough on the counter surface using only extra virgin olive oil. Do NOT use flour. Slack out the dough until it is a little bit bigger then the pan you are using. Then place inside the pan, gently pulling the dough into the corners. Add a little bit more extra virgin olive oil to the top and gently coat the entire top of the dough using your fingers. Cover “teglia” pan with plastic wrap, and let sit in the room temp oven for 2 hours. Take off the plastic wrap. Break the anchovies in half or thirds and gently press them into the dough. Dispersing all of them evenly. In a 450 degree oven, cook the Sfincione until it has just started to turn color and take out. Distribute the Cacio Cavallo cheese evenly. Using a spoon, evenly disperse the desired amount of Sfincione Sauce. Break the oil cured Sicilian olives in half and evenly distribute them on top of the Sfincione Sauce. Evenly distribute the Bread Crumb Topping on top of the Sfincione Sauce. Return to the oven and allow to cook until the crust is a deep golden brown.