This so-called "Sicilian" pizza is actually based on sfincione, a street cuisine popular in Palermo, Sicily's capital. Anchovies, sliced tuma, breadcrumbs with grated pecorino cheese, onions, salt, and extra-virgin olive oil were all included in the original version, which was topped with tomato sauce.
It began in Bagheria, a town in Palermo's commune that is about six miles from the city centre.
The original recipe featured béchamel, chicken offal, and peas, but Prince Giuseppe Branciforte di Butera's chefs changed the béchamel with locally produced tuma cheese and used items that represented the local territory, such as sardines from Aspra, a beach village of Bagheria.
The sfincione bagherese, according to Antonio Mineo, an ancient Sicilian grain selector and manager of the Antico Forno Valenti dal 1887, can be regarded Sicily's first gourmet food, born from the Monsù's reworking of an ancient convent recipe intended for nobles and clergy.
Tomatoes became more affordable after WWII, making them more available to the general people, pushing them to substitute them for the other sfincione ingredients. This resulted in the sfincione palermitano variety, a street snack available in alleys and marketplaces across the city.
During the third week of November, Bagheria has an annual Sfincione Festival, with sfincione di Bagheria sold at community baker stands set up along the hamlet's Corso Umberto I.