The Madonie Mountains are located not so far from Palermo holding some of the most distinctive and well-kept villages in Sicily, many on them dating back to the Middle Ages.
The recipe of the sfoglio goes back to the XIV - XV century a.C. when the nuns of the Santa Margherita Monastry, located in the village of Polizzi Generosa, used to cook it for their patron saint day St. Benedict.
Its main ingredient is the tuma cheese, being the first cheese deriving from the milk making.
Once it is cooked, you will never realise that cheese is really in the dessert and you will simply love it for its peculiar taste.
Preparing the puff pastry:
400 grams of white flour
200 grams of lard or butter
200 grams of sugar
3 Marsala wine spoons
(do not use any other spirit if you d not have the Marsala)
grated lemon rind
a bit of salt
Preparing the filling:
400 grams of grated tuma cheese
(if you do not find the tuma cheese you might use the ricotta cheese)
200 grams of sugar
25 grams of cinnamon powder
200 grams of plain chocolate
100 grams of candied pumpkin in small chops
2 beaten egg whites
Prepare the dough mixing well all ingredients, try not to knead it for long so to avoid the lard or butter soften it too much. When the puff pastry is ready, wrap it in a cloth and let it rest for about 2 hours. If it is possible, prepare the puff pastry one day in advance.
Grate the tuma cheese and add the beaten egg whites with the sugar, then the cinnamon powder, the chops of plain chocolate and of candied pumpkin. Mix well all ingredients and let it rest.
Roll out the puff pastry so to get two round pieces, one larger, one smaller.
The first, the larger, should be used to cover the pie-dish (better to roll out it straight on the greaseproof paper), the second to cover the filling.
Lay the puff pastry down with care on the pie-dish, pour the filling and cover it with the second puff pastry. Bake it at 180°C for about 40-50 minutes.
When it is cold, dust the cake with the icing sugar.
Tip: let it rest for 2 days before serving it. It will be delicious!
Picture: © Doriana Briguglio