“Fraguni,” Italian Savory Cheese Breads
These little Italian breads remind me of many family get togethers, especially around Easter time. Fraguni are native to Calabria, where my dad grew up and much of our family still resides. They are stuffed with several cheeses, and some have hot Calabrese salami, soppresata. (We make both varieties.) They are akin to a sauceless personal pan pizza, and bring to mind an Italian version of quiche. Sure, we have frittata too, but if Italians were tasked with replicating a quiche, they would use a pizza dough as the crust, wouldn’t they?
Fraguni are traditionally made the day before Easter in order to be eaten on Easter Sunday. My mom and I got together yesterday — the Saturday right before Easter — to make these treats. As always, we snuck some to taste them and we had fun talking about all our traditional Italian Easter fare. We brought them to our Easter brunch spread today, which lasted from about noon until 6 p.m. Seriously. We enjoyed so many amazing dishes. Here’s our family recipe for these annual favorites:
8 ounces fresh basket cheese
4 pounds ricotta cheese (fresh, if available)
1 cup Romano cheese or Parmesan-Romano blend, grated
2-3 hard boiled eggs (2 if large; 3 if small), diced and mashed
3 raw eggs, beaten, plus 1 more beaten raw egg, set aside for egg wash
Handful of parsley ~1/4 cup, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
~1/2 cup polenta (for dusting)
~3 pounds of pizza dough — your favorite recipe or use pre-made fresh or defrosted frozen dough
Optional: 10 pieces hot Calabrese salami, sopressata
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a large bowl, stir all cheeses together to combine.
- Add cooked eggs, parsley and salt. Taste to check salt content. Add more if needed, or adjust to taste with more grated cheese.
- Add raw eggs and salami (if using); stir to combine.
- Divide room temperature dough into four to six parts so it is easy to work with.
- Roll out dough until ~1/8 in. thick.
- Using a small plate or bowl (~4-6 in. in size), as if a cookie cutter, mark the fraguni and cover as many as possible on the surface you’ve rolled. (This is the trick to keeping them uniform. The size is your preference.) Use a knife to neatly cut where marked and trim as needed.
- Put polenta in shallow dish or on a dinner plate. Dust the bottom of each fraguni by lightly placing the dough on top of the polenta.
- Scoop ~4 tablespoons of cheese mixture on each fraguni to serve as filling. Be sure to put the majority in the middle of your circle, then spread out toward edges. Leave the very edges open because you will fold them next.
- Pinch up sides to make crimping pattern on dough around the edges of each fraguni.
- Using a pastry brush, gently dab some egg wash on the center of each fraguni — right on the filling.
- Repeat steps 6-11 until all your dough and filling is used.
- Bake on cookie sheets at 350ºF for ~15-20 minutes or until lightly golden.
Enjoy! Buona Pasqua!