Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Aunt Josephine's Sfingi Posted by Mary Chambers Cafarella (Texas Mary)

Col. Joe Cafarella married Mary Chambers. In February of 1955 Joe had to bring Mary to her new home. They moved into the house at 8 Biltmore Street in Malden. Uncle Tony and Aunt Josephine lived there too. Mary, who had been a rather active person for many years and a Nurse, was left when Joe was sent overseas in a strange town and far from her own family in Texas. Mary had a nursing job at Malden Hospital. Mary says that Aunt Jo took her under her wing. She was instantly family to Aunt Jo(despite the fact that people teased her when trying to say something in Italian with her Texas accent)(I find her accent to be most pleasing), and they spent much time together. Aunt Josephine taught Mary to cook. Perhaps Mary was not so helpless a cook before this, but I suspect that Italian food was not often on the menu in Texas in that time period. Mary always talks lovingly of Aunt Jo and when I was looking for a Sfingi recipe, she made sure I had this one from her old teacher.

3 cups pastry flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 teas. Cinnamon
3 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ teas salt

Sift dry ingredients into hot water. Mix well and turn out hot dough on a greased surface. Knead well. Return to pan and work in one dozen eggs one at a time. (4 eggs for each 1 cup of flour)

These are dropped by the teaspoon full into oil at 360 degrees+- till golden brown, turning once if necessary. Remove and drain on brown paper or paper towels. Stack into a cone on a large plate or shallow bowl Drizzle with honey or a thick simple syrup. Sprinkle with colored candies/nonpareils and serve.

I remember the first time I had any contact with these. Back in the early 70s, Aunt Rose Cincotta came to Houlton to visit with her husband Jake. They stayed with Uncle Phil on Park Street. They brought a recipe for Sfingi with them and were determined to do them while there. I think it was near Easter and this was to be their Easter treat. I don't know the source of this recipe, but I do not think that Aunt Rose had done them before or she had forgotten about them. I just remember her saying to all of the assembled would be cooks that we needed four dozen eggs! I think she even startled herself. Just how many of these things were we making? I do remember that these were good. They served them in Uncle Phil's biggest pasta bowl (maybe 20 inches across?)and they were in an enormous mound covered with syrup.

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