Sfincione di Palermo Sicilian Style Pizza

Half Pizza – Half Focaccia, this recipe is assured success – My version is simpler without any anchovies or breadcrumbs… Ok, not the 100% authentic… but still gets a perfect score in our home.
You can use any toppings you wish, but I keep it simple with grated Pecorino Romano.
You could simply cover it with Olive oil, Rosemary & Sea Salt, but the texture of the dough warrants a lovely tomato sauce to make it an exquisite dish. In Palermo, where the recipe originates, the Sfincione sauce is made with sliced onions and the pizza is often covered with anchovies, breadcrumbs, Oregano and different cheese, like Caccciocavallo. I keep my version similar to the pizza we used to buy growing up in Canada. A thick bread-like pizza with a lovely tomato sauce.
Don’t be afraid to try the recipe with an uncommon ingredient; Semolina flour, which adds a grainy texture to the dough and gives it structure. The grainy parts disappears during baking and make the dough subtle and quite tender. Hot or cold, heavenly !

For the Sfincione
10 Gr. of Dry Active Yeast
350 Gr. Lukewarm Water
4 Cups + 3 Tablespoon – (430 Gr.) Flour
3 Cups Semolina flour – (408 Gr.)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano

1 Large onion finely choppped
1/2 teaspoon Chilli flakes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
Small can of San Marzano Tomatoes chopped.
Salt & Pepper to taste

Using the bowl of a Stand Mixer, pour the water, sugar and yeast. Mix well and cover with a cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes. The yeast will start to come to the surface and bubble, that’s a good sign…
Using the same bowl and using a dough hook on your mixer, pour in the flour, semolina flour, olive oil and salt and mix at medium speed for 10 minutes. The timing is important here, as you want to make sure the gluten has developed and the dough becomes very smooth.
You will see the dough will be a little grainy, that’s because of the semolina flour which does not melt right away in the preparation. Do not worry, as it will eventually disappear when baking.
Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the dough rest for 2 hours.
The dough will rise substantially and almost triple in volume. Pour the remaining olive oil and spread it on the entire surface of one or even two pizza pans.
Place the dough on the pan and stretch it to cover the entire surface.
Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and spread the sauce to cover the entire surface.
Bake the Sfincione (Sponge) in a preheated 225 Celsius oven for 35-40 minutes. Make sure the base of your dough is well cooked and the top crispy. Delicioso !

METHOD for the Sauce
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions with the chilli flakes , until they start to brown at the edges. Add the tomato sauce, oregano, salt & pepper. Cook at low heat for 45 minutes, until the sauce is quite thick.

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