Friday, May 30, 2008

Lo sfoglio Polizzano

On the edge of a cliff in the Madonie Mountains in north-central Sicily, sits the quaint town of Polizzi Generosa.

The first Time I heard about Polizzi Generosa was long before I moved to Sicily. Within the pages of Theresa Maggio's The Stone Boudoir; Travels through the hidden villages of Sicily, I was taken away as she journeyed from town to town. I imagine her inspiration for the title came from her visit in Polizzi Generosa when she spoke of the streets being so close and intimate that it felt as if she'd "walked into someone's stone boudoir." The pictures she paints with her words are so true and accurate that one feels like they are there with her...

It wasn't until Rowena over at Rubber Slippers in Italy brought to my attention "Lo Sfoglio", a dessert made famous at the pasticceria in Polizzi Generosa. Knowing how easy it is to get fresh Tuma here, I just had to find out more.

Like many confectionery wonders of Sicily, this pie was born in the “Badia Vecchia” convent during the 1600's. The sisters in preparation for the festivity of their protecting Saint, Saint Benedict, would prepare this cake. Perhaps in lack of ingredients more refined, they had chosen tuma to make the filling of this cake that is one of a kind. Tuma is grated and mixed with aromas and typical scents of the island, cinnamon, chocolate, and sugar.

Now, the town of Polizzi Generosa holds a festival during the last week of July or first week of August inviting all to come and enjoy the sweet treasure their town holds so dear.

The more I read, the more I learned that the ingredient quantities vary for this recipe. It is known to add the ingredients, like the chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon in quantities you prefer. Knowing this, I would definitely make this cake again with a lot less sugar. It is indeed a sweet cake, but maybe I borrowed the recipe from a family with a real sweet tooth! :)

Thanks to our shepherd friend, antique recipes like this are still possible to create. This fresh tuma was delivered the night before...

Lo sfoglio Polizzano(Here, I divided all the quantities in half. I didn't need to bake for a large number of people...)
500 g flour
175 g butter
175 g sugar
5 egg yokes
( I added a touch f vanilla)
(I needed a few drops of milk)

Filling500 g grated Tuma
300 g sugar
8 g cinnamon
5 egg whites, mixed into peaks
30 g dark chocolate pieces
(25 g candied fruits, I didn't add them...)
( I added a touch of vanilla)

Make the dough and set in the fridge to sit. (I have to mention that this frolla was very difficult for me to work with. I did have to add a few drops of milk to help. Not having the egg white made a big difference.) Then roll out the dough to line a cake pan and another to cover the mixture.

Mix all the ingredients together for the filling and fill the pastry shell. Cover with remaining dough and place in the oven at 180 degrees.

One thing very important with this cake is that is should be eaten the following day cool. And, from experience, adhere to that suggestion! The tuma becomes like a liquid during the cooking process, it needs to be completely cooled in order to have the right consistency. Leave it in the fridge over night and wake to a nice surprise.

I'm counting down till the end of July!!

Thanks Rowena for the suggestion...


rowena said...

Jilli! You are my HEROINE!! Lo sfoglio looks fabulous! I'm just wishing that we could get tuma here. Thanks for sharing the history behind this dessert too. I think you must already know how much I love that sort of stuff, and I am crossing my fingers that you will be able to attend the sagra. Pleaaaaaaase!

(Sorry if I sent this twice but blogger got stuck midway during the process).

Jilli said...

Thanks to you! I must admit, it gets better and better in the fridge...

Scintilla said...

I first misread 'Polizia generosa' - couldn't be right ! I've never heard of Tuma . Is it cheese ? You certainly have different cuisine down there. I'm of Australian Calabrian background, married to a Napolitano and I thought I'd seen it all. Sounds nice with a coffee to counteract the sweetness :)

Jilli said...

Tuma is indeed a wonderful cheese... I added a link to this post under "tuma" where I explain this delicacy.

With coffee is a great idea! But, I must admit, this cake is so much better 1-2 days after. The sweetness has completely blended! I am actually rethinking the idea of changing the ingredients? Just make it ahead of time and leave to rest!

I know, 'Polizia generosa'... I did however read that the town was not named after generous policemen! ;)

Marie Russo said...

i just received a sfoglio from Polizza as my sister brout me one when she visited our family. I am trying replicate it and i have a couple questions re your recipe. 1.What kind of chocolate? Bittersweet? Any brand?

I found 2 types of tuma in Michigan. One is soft like a domestic mozzarella . The other is a domestic that is hard and comes in a huge ring like your picture. It is cow's milk, not sheep. I tasted it and I t think it is too savory and salty too use. What do you suggest? Thank you, Marie Russo