The Fresh Loaf

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Sicilian Cheese and Tomatoe Pie

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Franko's picture
Franko

Sicilian Cheese and Tomatoe Pie

I was browsing through Saveur's online magazine the other day and ran across a recipe for a tomato and cheese pie from Sicily called Scaccia. The recipe can be found at the link below.

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Tomato-and-Cheese-Pie

It caught my eye not only because it looked and sounded delicious, but also because it uses durum flour for the dough. Having recently acquired 25lbs of the stuff, I've been on the lookout for any recipes that call for it, and thought I'd give this Scaccia a try.

The formula for the dough is simply flour, olive oil, salt and water, which makes a pasta dough that can be stretched out into a very thin sheet and then spread with a thick tomato sauce and cheese. The recipe indicates it can be rolled out with a pin, but that proved impossible for the dough I'd made. In hindsight I'm not sure I'd want the dough so well developed that it could be rolled out anyway, as I think it might make it a little too chewy. The next step of trying to fold this to create several layers of dough and sauce (similar to laminating a croissant or puff pastry dough) was the tricky part. My attempt was moderately close to the procedure described in the recipe, but only because I used the largest icing spatula I had to help me fold the dough over on itself. The dough was hand mixed, and then developed using the slap and fold technique until it was able to come cleanly off the counter, but the next time I mix this I'll use a bit less water to make the dough a little easier to work with. The recipe from Saveur calls just for tomato sauce and caciocavallo or pecorino cheese in the filling, but I used a blend of pecorino and provolone instead. Since I had some thin slices of spicy Capicola sausage on hand, I added some of those for good measure as well. Once I'd managed to get it folded over, more cheese and sauce were added, then another two folds with more cheese and sauce going on. Next onto a parchment lined sheet pan and sprinkled with the last of the cheese and placed in a 500F oven for 10 minutes, then for 35-40 minutes at 400F. Once out of the oven I let it cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes while I made a warm scallop and prawn salad to have for dinner. By the time that was ready, the Scaccia was cool enough to eat, but still warm and soft on the interior, with a cheesy, slightly spicy aroma coming from it. The best way I can describe the flavour and texture of this pie is that it reminded me of what the top layer of a well baked lasagna tastes like, only softer. I'm not sure if what I made is what Scaccia is supposed to be like, but this tastes fantastic just the way it is. A few photos of the procedure and results below.

All the best,

Franko






 

Comments

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Thanks, Franko,

Wow, that sure made me hungry... so I'll have to be brief !  Thanks for another "got to try this" to add to my list.

Ron

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Ron,

I'm glad the photos were able to stir up an appetite for you. I know what you mean about an ever growing list of things to try, but that's part of the fun of it all isn't it?

Franko

varda's picture
varda

Franko, That looks amazing.   And durum flour too.   I've been thinking it's time to try something new for pizza.   I've been using Jim Lahey's standard crust which is great but it's time for a change.   Thanks for the detailed pictures.   -Varda

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Varda!

  I hope the photos are helpful to you when you give it a try. Just be generous with the cheese and sauce and you'll have something I think you'll enjoy.

Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,

I love the layering concept going on here.   And, the real simplicity of the basic premise [snack food!], but a degree of skill required to assemble the piece using a few traditional peasant ingredients.

Think pizza [Roman and Neopolitan] and foccacia [Puglia & the South] in their real context!   Also; Schiacciata di uva, 2 versions.   Andrew Whitley features a sweet version in Breadmatters, pp. 267 -70, utilising the use of 3 consecutive seasons of grape harvest.   A savoury version was also popular on the Breadmatters courses and is a cross between a pizza and foccacia.   From Tuscany!

Scaccia and Schiacciata seem like very similar words, don't you think?

Beautiful pie; real food to me!

Best wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy,

It really doesn't get much simpler than this in terms of ingredients does it? I could definately do with a "degree" or two more as far as assembly skills go, but that will come. I see this as a relatively quick and easy alternative to pizza, and it's something I'll be making often, now that I've happened on it. There are some recipes for scaccia I've seen since finding this one that use standard wheat flour in whole or part of the mix. Not sure if that would be traditional or not, but I was quite happy with the flavour and texture of  the durum flour pasta in this one so I'll stick with that. Real food, and very tasty!

Thanks Andy,

Franko

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Mouthwatering, Franko.

I think this is fundamentally a Sicilian thing. I know that in Tuscany, one sees round, dimpled freeform foccaccie, rectangular schiacciate in sheet pans, both sweet and savory, as well as traditional pizze, albeit neither Roman nor Neapolitan. The terminology is fluid, but the results are delicious.

Franko's picture
Franko

Grazie Louie!

I remembered earlier today that I own a copy of Waverley Root's classic 'The Food of Italy' and had a look to see if Scaccia was a uniquely Sicilian dish or not. Apparently it is, as it's sole reference in the book appears only in the chapter on Sicilian cuisine. Root describes it as "oven-cooked pasta pie filled with cut-up tomatoes and broccoli or cheese" calling it one of the many pasta specialties of Palermo. Any time I find something new to try , particularly if it's Italian or Mediterranean in nature I'm a happy camper.

Franko

 

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

Hi Franko

Browsing through the lastest from TFL I came across your comment, "Any time I find something new to try , particularly if it's Italian or Mediterranean in nature I'm a happy camper."

I wondered if you'd tried Pane frattau, from Sardinia. I had it for dinner, yesterday, and had the leftovers tonight (which were even tastier!).

I've got the recipe here on my blog, it's a real winner. 

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/2010/09/pane-frattau.html

Regards, Paul

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Paul,

Carta da Musica is on my short list of things to bake this summer and the Panne Frattau would flow naturally from that. It's a good looking recipe that I'll be sure to try. Nice looking blog as well Paul! Thanks for the link to it.

Best Wishes,

Franko

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I had a go at this not long ago. It wasn't as difficult as I expected. They are fun to make and to eat.

Franko's picture
Franko

Actually Louie it was your post and excellent looking Pane Carasau that's had me wanting to make it sometime in the near future. Many thanks for the inspiration!

Franko

Syd's picture
Syd

Looks delicious, Franko. :)

Syd

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Syd!

It was great last night with the salad, but it's even better today now that the flavours have had a chance to meld.

Franko

kim's picture
kim

Franko,

Your last pictures make me so hungry now. I have to wait for my friend homemade cured meat to be harvest soon before I can try this recipe. When we have a lots of summer veggies in our farmer market, I may try grilled vegetables version. This is quick, simple and tasty meal can be prepared in short time. Thanks.

Kimmy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Kimmy,

Thanks! It's the very best compliment to receive, knowing that something I've made has got someone else's appetite going. Your friend's homemade cured meat sounds so much better than the store bought sausage I used, but your idea of using grilled or perhaps partially cooked vegetables is likely what would be used in Sicily, where this dish originates from. Hope you get a chance to try it for yourself.

All the best,

Franko

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Franko, I never ate a scaccia in my life. Judging form you picture I must have missed a delicious thing indeed.

Happy baking.

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Nico,

You have such a wide range of regional food specialties in Italy it's not suprising that you haven't run across this one ...yet. When you find some let me know what you think, I'd be interested to hear.

Good to hear from you Nico!

Franko

MadAboutB8's picture
MadAboutB8

Very nice and very intersting, Franko.

It is interesting to see rolled/laminated (kind of) pizza dough. It has a good flavour combination. Must have tasted wonderful.

Sue

http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Sue,

Thanks very much for your comments. The dough is really closer to a pasta dough rather than a yeasted type of pizza dough. I think that's the main appeal for me since it tastes very similar to pizza, but it's super quick to make at just a little over an hour from mix to finishised bake. I was wondering last night how this might turn out if you used spring roll wraps layerd with sauce and cheese, stacked one on top of the other, then baked. Food for thought!

Franko

southern grits girl's picture
southern grits girl

I wonder if you can substitute all purpose or bread flour, anyone know?

Franko's picture
Franko

I don't see any problem with substituting AP flour in this recipe. Bread flour might be a bit too strong and you could end up with something quite chewy, but AP should be fine.

Franko

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Franko, Your Sicilian pie looked so good I had to try making one. We both loved it!
The spicy capicola is a very tasty addition.

The durum tasted really good, too. I want to try it in a pizza crust next.
Thanks again for posting this, Franko!
:^) from breadsong

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Breadsong,

Glad you both enjoyed it! Your version looks terrific with all the clear layering in it, something I didn't achieve with my attempt. Have to ask if you were able to roll it out, or did you stretch it out? The dough I had was so soft it stuck to the pin. I'm blaming it on the fact the recipe was scaled in volume and not by weight...at least that's my story. LOL!

Franko

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Franko,
I guesstimated and used 500 grams of flour for the 3-1/2 cups listed in the recipe.
It kneaded up into a firm doughball, and after resting I was able to roll it out.
The dough resisted a little bit while rolling but I just kept working at it until I thought the dough was rolled thin enough.
It was sticking to the counter a little bit when doing the folding but the dough scraper helped with that, while shaping.
This really was such a tasty pie! Thanks again for posting!
:^) from breadsong