Sicilian Pizza from the Wood Fired Oven
Sicilian Pizza, or Sfincione, is a great way to serve pizza to a crowd without having to endlessly bake super thin Neapolitan pizzas. Fun as a Neapolitan making session is, sometimes you just have to feed a crowd quickly and there’s no better way to do it than with a Sicilian.
Another great reason to make it is the name – Sfincione – just makes us think of the classic Sicilian quote from the Princess Bride (or is that just us??) – “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”
Anyway back to making pizzas – whereas your Neapolitan pizza is all about the lightness of base and topping, the airiness of the crust and the speed of cooking, the Sicilian is a completely different affair – a large, thick, spongy base, fried in olive oil, and generously topped with a mix of tomatoes, cheese, herbs and whatever else comes to hand. Then cooked like a traybake and chopped into indvidual pieces. You can happily feed a family with one pizza; make 3-4 and you’ve fed a crowd.
Here’s the video showing how David makes our Sfincione so do check that out and the method is below.
Sicilian Pizza from the Wood Fired Oven – Ingredients
For the dough
- 500g OO flour
- 300g warm water
- 10g fast acting yeast (3g if fermenting overnight)
- 20g salt
- 20g sugar
- 125ml extra virgin olive oil
For the topping
- 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes – San Marzano if you can get them
- 200g pecorino cheese, grated
- 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 6 tinned anchovies – rinsed if in salt
- 1tbsp fresh oregano
- extra virgin olive oil
Sicilian Pizza from the Wood Fired Oven – Oven state/equipment etc
3 1/2 – 4 Mississippi 250 – 260C
1 baking tray, approx 20 x 30cm
1 frying pan
Sicilian Pizza from the Wood Fired Oven – Method
To make the dough
1. Put the flour in a large bowl and mix in the yeast until evenly distributed. Add the salt and sugar and mix again.
2. Add the olive oil and water. Mix in by spoon or hand to bring the dough together.
3. Turn out on to your work surface and begin kneading. Work the dough for 5-10 minutes until it is silky, supple, springy and smooth.
4. Place the dough in a clean and lightly oiled, non-metallic bowl. Cover and leave to prove in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size. This will take about an hour or longer depending on the temperature. If fermenting overnight place in a cool place or in the fridge. I much prefer to ferment the dough overnight; it has a much better flavour.
For the topping
1. Gently fry the onion in olive oil for a few minutes with the lid on the pan until it’s soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the tomatoes, cheese, half the breadcrumbs, 2 chopped anchovies and the oregano. Taste and add a little sugar if it is too acidic.
Putting the pizza together
1. Tip the risen dough on to your generously oiled baking tray. Oil your fingers and use them to ‘dibble’ (pressing down with your fingertips) the dough to spread it out so that it covers the surface of the tin. Don’t worry if this doesn’t happen staight away. Just let the dough relax then dibble again.
2. Dot 4 chopped anchovies on top of the dough then spread the tomato mixture evenly over this. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs over the top.
3. Press down with your hands to allow the mixture to penetrate into the dough. Leave to rise for a further 20-30 minutes.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges and bottom of the pizza are golden brown.
5. Cut into slices and serve at once.
Sicilian Pizza from the Wood Fired Oven – Alternatives
- If available, use Caciocavallo instead of the pecorino. This is a type of stretched curd cheese made out of sheep’s or cow’s milk.
- Spice up your tomato sauce with chillis or smoked paprika.
- Although not truly authentic, feel free to add some slices of pepperoni or chorizo on top if you wish.
Sicilian Pizza from the Wood Fired Oven – Wine Suggestion