A vastedda cu sammucu
750 grams of durum wheat flour
250 g flour type 00
400 g of tuma cheese
100 g bacon
200 g salami
15 g brewer’s yeast
30 g salt
25 gr sugar
150 ml milk
250 ml of water
100 g lard
fresh or dried elderflower as required
Historical origin of the dish and curiosities:
Widespread preparation already in medieval times, the “vastedda cu sammucu” (elderberry) is an ancient traditional recipe from the province of Enna, exclusive to Troina, a municipality north of the territory. The word “vastedda” derives from the old French “gastel”, which in turn comes from the Norman “guastel” or “wastel”. In ancient times, it was prepared with majorca type wheat flour, an ancient variety of gentle wheat that gave the product a whitish color.
It appeared, then as now, with a round shape and a diameter of 25/30 cm. It is also known by the term ‘nfigghiulata (due to the presence of the sauce in its belly).
Even today, it is made according to an ancient recipe attributed to the Basilian fathers of the convent of San Michele Arcangelo and handed down over the centuries by the various generations with cooking that took place strictly in the wood oven. It is said that the housewives of the place used to rely on the patron saint of the town for the success of the product and before baking the vastedda, in fact, they made the sign of the cross and recited the words: San Suvviestu…. Bieni and Prestu!
Originally it was prepared only during the flowering period of the elderberry plants (Sambucus nigra), when the characteristic white and fragrant flowers that grow in the countryside around Troina could be collected, today collected and dried at home so as to be able to prepare the vastedda when It is preferred. The other ingredients that make up the “vastedda cu sammucu” are typical of the area, distinctly rural and pastoral, such as durum wheat flour, lard, tuma, local salami (soppessata), eggs, milk and natural yeast (cruscente). It is a fairly high and soft focaccia, with a pleasantly crunchy and golden outer surface. It is generously stuffed with abundant soft fresh cheese, seasoned salami, battened bacon and embellished by the presence of elderberry which gives it its characteristic aroma and flavor.
This rustic focaccia, given the flowering period of the elder, is relegated to the feast of the Patron Saint of Troina, San Silvestro monaco, celebrated from the penultimate Sunday of May to the first week of June, a period in which the festival of ” vastedda cu sammucu “.
In a large container sift the flours, form a fountain and in the center combine the softened lard, yeast and sugar dissolved in a little water, add the eggs, one at a time, the milk and the salt.
Begin to knead vigorously by hand, add a pinch of elderflower and gradually the water, in order to obtain a fairly soft and homogeneous dough.
Leave to rise covered and in a sheltered place, as in the oven but with the light on, for about 60 minutes.
Divide the dough into two parts and arrange the first half in a round pan greased with extra virgin olive oil. Season by placing a layer of bacon, one of cheese and one of salami, being careful to stay slightly away from the edges. Once the layers are finished and before covering it with the other part of the dough, add a handful of elder flowers. Arrange the remaining mixture, cover it and finish by polishing it with water mixed with a little extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of elderflower.
Leave to rest for half an hour covered with a cloth and then bake in a hot oven at 200 ° C for 35-40 minutes, until the “vastedda” is well swollen and golden. N.B. “Start the first 10 minutes of cooking with a saucepan with water inside the oven, in order to keep the cooking chamber moist. Remove the saucepan with the water and continue without. If the surface tends to brown excessively, cover with aluminum foil until cooked. “