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30 May 2022

Sicilian cheese and cauliflower cheese bread ‘pie’

Sicilian cheese and cauliflower cheese bread ‘pie’
Bloomsbury Absolute and Kris Kirkham the photographer

Similar to scaccia (or lasagne bread, as it’s also known), this pie – impanata Catanese – uses a stronger dough and, typical to Catania, roasted cauliflowers with pine nuts and raisins. It’s similar to a Spanish empanada and was most likely developed when Sicily was under Spanish rule. 

The impanata Catanese is traditionally eaten at dinner on Christmas Eve, but Catania’s street  vendors have this version all year round, feeding hungry locals and tourists alike.

Serves: 4
Takes: 3 hrs

7g sachet dried yeast
1 tsp honey
700g semolina flour
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil,  plus extra for drizzling
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 cauliflower, cored, florets and leaves finely sliced
60g pitted green olives
30g toasted pine nuts
30g raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
400g provolone, cut into cubes
50g parmesan, grated
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Dissolve the yeast in 300ml warm water, along with the honey. Sift the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the extra virgin olive oil, salt and yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to form a rough dough, adding another 100ml water as you go.
  2. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.
  3. Heat oven to 220C, fan 200C, gas 7. Oil a 26 x 35cm baking tin and set aside.
  4. Place the cauliflower and leaves in a roasting tin, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season. Roast for 30 mins or until tender and caramelised. Leave to cool (but leave the oven on).
  5. Divide the dough in half and roll out one piece into a thin rectangle. Transfer the dough rectangle to the prepared baking tin and, using wet hands, mould the dough to fit the tin.
  6. Spread the cauliflower, olives, pine nuts and raisins over the dough and season with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Finish with the provolone and parmesan.
  7. Roll out the second piece of dough in the same way and place on top of the cauliflower and cheese filling. Seal all the edges, then brush the top with extra virgin olive oil. Bake  for 30 mins.
  8. Once cooked, allow the pie to cool for 15 mins before cutting into squares  for serving.

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