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Fiadone con Formaggio
Lazy Man's Fiadone con Formaggio (Baked Easter sharp cheese pastry, without sugar, with parsley)
Originated from: Casacalenda, Molise
Occasion: Easter
Contributed by: Mary Melfi (adapted from Zia Teresa's and Zia Rosina's recipe)

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For the dough (makes 2 oval-sized fiadoni, about 11 1/2 inches long, and 5 1/2 inches wide):
2 2/3 cups flour
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
1 1/2 cup semi-ripe Caciatto, grated
1 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 cup semi-ripe Romano cheese, grated
4 extra large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper

A touch of margarine or vegetable oil for greasing pans (Or, silicon baking mats)

For the egg wash:
about 3 yolks of small-sized eggs

Equipment needed:
2 aluminum cookie pans (about 16 inches long, 11 inches wide, 1 inch high)
A large oval-sized plate, about 12 inches long, and 6 inches wide
Serrated roller pastry cutter
A pastry bag tip


To make the pastry dough

o Combine ingredients and work into a soft pastry dough (add a touch more flour if the dough is too soft).

o Divide the resulting dough into two portions.

o Shape into two balls. Dust with flour.

o Wrap the dough balls with plastic wrap. Place in a container and let it rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes (Can do the cheese mixture at this time).

o Flour one of the dough balls, letting the other stay in its container.

o Flour a wooden board (To avoid the dough from sticking one can roll out the dough between silicone parchment papers, or one can use plastic wrap -- a cumbersome process, but it does work wonders).

o Using a rolling pin, stretch out the pastry dough ball to the size of a large oval plate -- about 13 inches long and 10 inches wide. The desired thickness of the pastry dough is about 1/8 of an inch thick (a difficult task).

o Dust the rolled out pastry dough with flour.

o Place a large oval-sized plate over the rolled-out dough.

o Using a serrated roller pastry cut around the large oval plate.

o Remove the plate. Discard excess dough.

To make the cheese filling*

o Using an egg beater, beat eggs.

o Add pepper to the beaten eggs. Mix.

o Mix grated cheeses (by hand).

o Combine beaten eggs with grated cheeses -- do the mixing by hand, do Not use a blender or food processor.

o Add finely grated parsley. Mix well (by hand).

o Divide the cheese mixture into two portions.

*The egg and cheese mixture will make more than is needed for 2 fiadoni; the left over mixture of cheeses can be used to make "pane rustica." For the recipe see the category, "X Italian Vegetable and Side Dishes."

To make the fiadoni

o Keeping in mind that one will need to fold one half of the rolled out dough over the other to make a pastry-pocket style of pastry, make three small holes (about 1/2 inch wide each) in that half of the pastry dough that will cover the filling (One can use a pastry bag tip, turned upside down, to make the hole, or one can use any other utensil that can do the same thing).

o Distribute 1 1/4 cups of the cheese mixture to the part of the dough panel that has no holes, making sure that there is ample room left without any filling on the edges (about 1 inch). Please note: 1) If one uses too much mixture, it will crack open the pastry pocket, and if one uses too little, it will not have the proper look, so figuring out the right amount is pretty important 2) The mixture is supposed to increase in volume (almost double) by the time it is cooked, so while it may appear to be a small amount of filling while it is uncooked (about 1 inch in height), it should end up being the right amount once it is out of the oven. 3) However, the egg and cheese mixture can rise in the oven, but then once it is cooled, it might drop down substantially -- not a good thing, but it can happen. Nonetheless, even if the egg mixture does decrease in volume once it is cooled, it should still taste O.K. 4) Sometimes the egg and cheese mixture triple in volume the oven -- not necessarily a good thing. The volume increases, and might even stay increased when the fiadoni are cooled, but when one cuts the fiadoni the pastry has a huge air bubble in it -- not a good thing, but not a catastrophe either, as the taste should be unaffected. 5) The edges of the pastry can open if there is too much filling, or if they were not pressed hard enough, or if the edges were not wide enough -- so making the edges right is an important step. Sometimes home cooks make the edges about 1 1/2 inches wide, and then re-cut them to 3/4 of an inch thick after they are pressed. If you have the patience to do this, go ahead. But if you are a lazy or indifferent cook as I sometimes am, well then you can skip that part. 6) The holes on top of the pastry crust can crack open. Don't expect perfection. The beauty of home-made pastries is that they don't look like they're store-bought, meaning, a bit of imperfection can actually make the pastry more endearing (or so one hopes). 7) The recipe will make more cheese and egg mixture than is required for 2 fiadoni. As it is really hard to make extra-large fiadoni, and as it is really hard to divide the original traditional proportions (How does one get half an egg?) it's best to do more, rather than less.

o Fold over the oval-shaped dough panel, and seal it with a fork.

o Brush the top of the fiadoni with egg yolk (Small-sized eggs seem to have yolks that are more yellowish than large-sized eggs and so are preferable, but not absolutely necessary -- any beaten egg yolk will do).

o Make the second fiadoni, repeating the above steps.

To bake the fiadoni

o Grease two aluminum cookie pans (Or, use silicon baking mat in which case, do not grease). N.B. Using a silicon baking mat will decrease the chance of the bottom being burnt, as it absorbs some of the heat.

o Place the two aluminum cookie pans in the middle of the oven on one rack (Do not place any other thing to bake on the other rack, as this will affect the cooking process. So, if one is doubling the mixture, only cook 2 fiadoni at a time, to get the desired golden crust).

o Bake in 325 F degree oven for 25 minutes. Check to see if the top and bottom crust are being evenly cooked. If the bottom looks darker than the top, place the rack higher in the oven so the bottom gets less heat. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is a golden color, and the egg mixture appears to be cooked.

o Turn off the oven, and let the fiadoni cool in the oven for about 5 minutes (To help prevent the egg mixture from dropping in volume).

o Cool the fiadoni on the kitchen counter for about an hour.

o Wrap the cooled fiadoni in aluminum foil, and place in appropriate containers. If the fiadoni will be served on the same day or in the next day or so, one can keep them in the fridge until needed. If they will be served in a few days or more, they should be kept in the freezer and frozen. The night before the fiadoni are served, they can be placed in the fridge. Once they are thawed out, they can be taken out of the fridge.

o Before serving, cut each fiadoni into thin slices -- 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (A well-made fiadoni should increase in volume in the oven, so that one should end up with slices that are about 2 1/2 inches high, 4 to 6 inches wide (depending on which part of the oval pastry they were cut from), and about 1/2 inch thick).

o Serve at room temperature.


My adaptation of my aunts' recipes for fiadoni is not the best recipe for sharp cheese fiadoni you will find on this website, but I think, it is the easiest one to do. Because I don't have much patience to knead dough and to roll it out, I found that by making a softer dough the amount of work involved decreases, and that for me is a good thing. Also, I found that by making only 2 fiadoni rather than attempting to make 3 at one time, the chances for success increase as it takes a lot of effort to make these traditional treats. Oddly enough, I found that the taste of the cheese and egg mixture from this recipe most resembles the one made by my mother and aunts in the 1960s. Back then I did not like this style of fiadone, I still don't like it all that much -- it's an acquired taste. The milder-tasting fiadoni con formaggio (Check out Sue Alfieri's, Version IV) are much easier on the palate, and therefore more desirable to have around for picky guests. In the old days (back in the 1930s) sharp-cheese fiadoni were served at the end of the meal with the desserts, but nowadays, many Italian-Canadians are serving them at the start of the Easter meal, as entrees......If one has left-over grated cheeses and doesn't know what to do with them, one can use them to make Molisani-style cheese croutons. For the recipe see the category, "X Italian Vegetable and Side Dishes/Pane Rustica....." Photo: by the contributor.

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