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Recipe: The Nfigghiulata from the village of Sortino, Sicily

Friday 12 january 2018

One of the oldest recipes of the Sicilian tradition, a rustic cake shaped like a rose with a particular taste

Recipe: The Nfigghiulata from the village of Sortino, Sicily


This ancient dish, according to some is recognized as the precursor of modern breakfast brioches, was cooked when, preparing the bread, the left over part of the dough became a delicious dessert loved by the whole family.

In fact, adding sugar to the dough of the left over dough and setting it in the form of stuffed buns, was the joy of the little ones. From this it seems to derive the name.

Thanks to the generosity of the territory, where the countryside offers a wide range of vegetables and spontaneous aromatic herbs, the Sortino people have been able to transform the nepitella (pennyroyal) into the key ingredient of Nfigghiulata, in which it is blended with olive oil in an infusion particularly aromatic, as if it were a pesto.

As the salted "sister", the Sfigghiulata, the Nfigghiulata is prepared with the process dell'agnutticamientu, or the wrapping of the stuffed dough on itself, making it possible to vary the taste of the filling in the various layers obtaining a very appetizing strand that can be cut transversely into compact pieces.

The result is a dessert with an unusual taste that combines the sweet figs, the salty, the nepitella in a combination that makes it a much appreciated dish.

As you will have understood, following the instructions to prepare the Nfigghiulata, you can indulge in the stuffing that teases you, for example you can replace the figs with sausage cut into small pieces or you can add some chilly peppers, but for today we will keep to one of the more traditional variants.



  • 500 g of bread dough
  • 12 dried figs
  • a bunch of nepitella (pennyroyal)
  • half a liter of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper


We start by spreading the dough loaf for baking until you get a very thin sheet. We mix the pastry with plenty of olive oil and distribute the nepitella that we will have chopped with the oil obtaining a kind of pesto, and the dried figs cut into pieces. If desired, now you can add pepper if you want. Roll the dough on itself forming a "salami". Cut the "salami" into slices of about 10 cm and, holding them by the ends, twist the slices as if we were discarding candies or squeezing a tea towel (agnutticamientu). Put the slices on the top, vertically, and crush them until you get some kind of pizza slices. Bake in preheated oven at 220 ° and cook until the Nfigghiulate will be well browned.

...Good appetite!

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