We had this recipe suggested to us in January by Swetha for our Baking Partner’s group. I had made the pizza on time, but it never made its way into the blog. I have greatly come to believe that cooking is much easier than blogging. It was a delicious treat and we thoroughly enjoyed this pie. Making pizza at home is something we do often and I try out different recipes for dough and topping. This recipe was quite different as the sauce and the topping were one and the same.
This pizza has a base as a sponge that allows the juices to be absorbed. It is a tradition to make this in Sicily for Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Good Friday. It is sold year around in the bakeries. The pizza is traditionally baked in a rectangle pan and sold by square pieces. This was way easier than shaping the regular pizza as I just had to spread it out in a rectangle.
This pizza has an unusual topping of bread crumbs. I did use it in my pizza this time, but I found no use for it. I would definitely be skipping that when I make it next time. I did not see a need for bread crumb over the bread, but still used it as I wanted to stay as close as I can to the recipe.
The pizza dough (base) is spread pretty thick and hence the crust is very soft. My boys loved the base as it was very soft and slightly chewy. I used two different cheeses on the pizza; mozzarella on the bottom and then Parmesan cheese on top.
Preparation time – 30 minutes plus about 3 hours for proofing the dough
Cooking time – 30 minutes to cook the topping plus about 35 minutes of baking time
Difficulty level – easy
Recipe adapted from – King Arthur Flour
Ingredients to make Pizza Sfincione – Makes a half sheet tray
For the dough –
- All purpose flour – 3 cups (plus more to dust)
- Instant yeast – 2 tsp
- Salt – 1 ¼ tsp
- Italian flavoring – 2 tsp
- Olive oil – 2 tbsp
- Luke warm water – 1 cup (plus more or less)
For the topping –
- Onion – 2 large (sliced thinly)
- Diced tomatoes – 28 oz can
- Pizza seasoning or Italian seasoning – 2 tsp
- Mozzarella cheese – 2 cups (shredded)
- Parmesan cheese – 1 cup (shredded)
- Olive oil – 6 tbsp
- Bread crumbs – 1 ½ cups
Procedure to make Pizza Sfincione –
Make the dough –
- Combine all the ingredients except water in a bowl. Mix well. Add the olive oil and then slowly add the water to make soft dough. I used my mixer to knead the dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it smooth and shiny.
- Place it in a greased bowl and let it rise for about an hour to hour and a half or until double in volume.
To make the toppings –
- In a wide pan, heat about 3 tbsp of olive oil and cook the onions until golden brown. Now add the seasoning and tomatoes and stir well. Cook them further until the sauce is no longer runny. The sauce should be a little firm but not dry. It should be able to spread evenly on the dough.
- In another bowl mix together the remaining olive oil and bread crumbs and leave aside.
Shaping the pizza –
- Once the dough has risen, gently deflate the dough.
- Grease a large, rimmed half sheet baking tray with olive oil and then spread the deflated dough on to the tray. If the dough resists, leave it alone for about 10 minutes and then come back and spread it. Make sure you reach up to the corners and spread it till the end.
- Cover the dough with a kitchen cloth and let it rise for about an hour until puffy.
Baking the Pizza Sfincione –
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Once the dough is ready, spread the mozzarella cheese on it evenly.
- Then layer the tomato – onion mixture all over the cheese.
- Then spread the parmesan cheese over the tomato mixture and finally sprinkle the bread crumbs mixture.
- Bake the pizza for about 35 minutes or until the crust and crumbs are golden brown.
- If you prefer crunchy pizza, cut the Pizza Sfincione into slices and then cool on a rack.