Monthly Archives: March 2013

Easter recipe from Central Italy: La Pizza di Formaggio

Easter is soon enough to start thinking to some special recipe. As mentioned in my last post, baking has become lately my favourite part of the cooking or at least the one I am enjoying the most.

So thinking about Easter the first recipe that came to my mind is the Pizza di Formaggio. The name pizza could be misleading as it not a pizza as such. I would consider as savoury and cheesy soft bread. I hope it makes sense but there is not an exact translation.


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This is a dish typical of central Italy, where I am from. It is very common both in the Umbria and Marche regions. My grandmother always used to prepare at least a week before Easter Sunday a batch of 5 or 6 of Pizze di Formaggio. Half of them were for the family consumption during the long festive Easter weekend, the other half was for the neighbours and the part of the family that could not spend the Easter day eating with us.

So what a best teacher if not the experienced grandmother to find out al the secrets about the perfect Pizza di Formaggio. I phoned her up and tried to get the recipe. Not easy task, though. She always cook by heart or adapting the recipes every time.. So between her instructions and my personal research on the internet below is the result of my very own Pizza di Formaggio for a perfect Easter brunch.

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INGREDIENTS (for 2 cakes):

120g of sourdough starter (or if you don’t have it 50g gram of fresh yeast or 10 g of dried yeast)

1 cup of water (I also used some milk)

600g of very strong flour

4 or 5 eggs

1 tbs of sugar

10g of Salt

10 g of Pepper

50ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

150g of Pecorino Cheese (possibly aged)

150g of Parmesan

Some recipes also use other kind of cheeses such as Emmental or Smoked Provolone.

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HOW TO

Beat the eggs and add the grated cheeses, some pepper, salt and the Extra virgin Olive Oil. Leave to rest for 15/20 minutes. In the main time put the sourdough starter and the water together in the bowl of the mixer give it a stir and gradually add the flour and the eggs mixed with cheeses. Mix all together for quite long time adding more water or flour if needed. I left the mixer on for 20 minutes with the hook. After 20 minutes the dough should be quite elastic and sticky. Leave the dough to rest for an hour more or less in warm environment. I used the oven with the light on. After one hour fold the dough a couple of time to give it a bit of strength. I divided the dough into two and put every one of them into the baking tins (with very high edges). Leave the cake to rise for 10 hours. I left them to raise overnight. Once well-leavened cook at 180 for 50-55 minutes. Once cooked leave to cool down at least an hour or two before trying them.

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A veggie Focaccia


It seems that lately baking has became my favourite hobby. All my last posts are about baking: bread, savoury cakes, cookies and today Focaccia bread. I already talked about the focaccia here. This time I made the focaccia using my own sourdough starter and adding an extra bit: some courgettes and onions. But let’s start from the beginning. This Sunday, instead of baking my weekly bread, I decided to try something new. My parents, which on a daily basis experiment new recipes in the kitchen, suggested to try an “upside-down” focaccia. Why upside-down”?  Because you put the veggies of your choice in a baking tray and on the top the dough of the focaccia. In this way, the veggies won’t dry out but stay soft and cook thanks to their own steam. Ideally the upside down focaccia is a main course itself or if served in small a delicious appetizer.

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INGREDIENTS

250g Sourdough Starter

250g Strong Flour

125g Warm Water

1tbs of Sugar

1tbs of salt

2tbs of EVO

2 courgettes

1 onion in thin slices

HOW TO

Start mixing the Sourdough starter with the warm water adding some sugar, which will facilitate the raising process. Add the flour, the oil and just at the end the salt. Mix all the ingredients for 5/10 minutes. The dough should be quite sticky as very hydrated. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to raise for at least 5hrs.

In the main time (it actually take just 5 minutes not 5 hours) chop the courgettes and the onions or any other veggies you decided to use. Season with some salt and peeper adding also some EVO.

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After 5 hrs, take the dough, which should have became twice as big,  out of the bowl and fold it using the same technique used for the bread. Cover the baking tray with some baking paper and dispose the courgette&onion mix on the tray. They should form an uniform layer.  Put the dough on the top of the veggies and pushing down the dough until it covers all the tray. Leave it to rest for 1 hr. In the main time pre-heat the oven at 220°C. After the last part of the raising process cook at 200°C for 25/30 minute or until the top has a brown golden colour.

After taking the focaccia out of the oven, overturn it so the veggie part stays at the top. If needed pass the focaccia under the grill for  a couple of minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy this upside-down veggie focaccia warm. It won’t make it the end of the meal.

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