Filagia is a unique concoction of the Azzizzari Ailor, a Kaffee-flavored cake topped with cocoa powder and presented in layers separated by a sweet cream cheese. The dish has expanded beyond the reaches of the Azzizzari due to the spreading popularity of Kaffee and easy modification, which also earns it a place at many tables for upper and middle class families.
Filagia began sometime relatively recently in Azzizzari history, though others contend that it is older than outsiders know. What is for certain is that there is no one clear chef who first invented it, beyond tales told of a “Piu Bonfiglio”, who came carrying the dish into the town of Ennan’s brothel, the Cosmo Lounge. The women of the establishment apparently appreciated the dish so much that they had local chefs prepare it for them, resulting in its spread across the local region. The validity of this tale is unknown, but the dish is indeed native to the town of Enna, and it has become popular across much of the Regalian south, and in those places of food that can afford to make, and cater to a special clientele on other continents. In fact, some have even miniaturized the food, using singular bowls with only two Ladyfingers and an appropriate amount of filling and topping to make miniature versions of the dish to save on the cost that may be incurred from building the entire dish, which may not sell by the end of the day. Regardless in the form it is enjoyed, it is enjoyed by many sides of society and wealth in the cities across the Empire.
Filagia involves the creation of the pastries known as Ladyfingers first before the building of the broader cake. The first step in the beating of egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks begin to form, at which point two tablespoons of the sugar should be added before the mix should be beaten again, until it is stiff and glossy. In a separate bowl, the remaining sugar and egg yolks should be beaten together, resulting in a thick, pale-yellow substance. Meanwhile, a portion of the flour and all of the baking powder should be sifted together overtop of prepared baking sheets. Then, half of the egg whites should be folded into the egg yolk mixture, followed by the remaining flour, and finally, the last of the egg whites. The mixture should then be transferred to a pastry bag, and piped out of a half-inch wide piping tube onto the baking sheets, and placed into an oven set at a high temperature for less than ten minutes. The Ladyfingers should then be set aside to cool for up to an hour before being used in the main dish
The next part of making Filagia is the actual cake itself. The Kaffee or espresso should be made and then combined with the liqueur before being set aside to cool. Next, the egg yolk should be separated from the whites, with the whites whipped stiff before being set aside. The egg yolks should then be whipped together with the sugar, forming a pale and smooth substance. This pale substance should then be whisked in with the cheese slowly, before the stiffened whites, which should also be slowly mixed in. Then, a rectangular platter or container should be arranged with Ladyfingers in a two by six formation. The pastries should be briefly dipped into the cooled liquid from earlier, but if dipped too much, the cake will be soggy. Once the bottom layer is formed, the white mixture of the eggs, cheese and sugar should be spread all over it, followed by a second layer of dipped Ladyfingers and another layer of white mixture all over it. The cocoa powder should then be sprinkled along the top of the entire dessert, and let to cool for as little as three hours before eating (which should ideally take place the day of).
- Filagia, depending on its exact method of creation and serving, looks like layers of white icing surrounding light brown pastry pieces, and topped with brown powder.
- Filagia has a vaguely sweet smell, given the amount of sugar used to make it, and often a prominent whiff of cocoa powder given that sits on top of the dessert.
- The dessert is very light and rich, with a sweet and energizing taste thanks to the sweet coating and the Kaffee-dipped Ladyfingers.
- Ladyfingers on their own are often enjoyed as simple treats, and some are even eaten “à la Fila”, meaning they are dipped in one’s Kaffee, though are eaten on the spot as part of the drink.
- Filagia is sometimes not enjoyed by those Cultures or regions more sensitive to perceived offenses or culinary no-nos, given the presence of “the fingers of women, noble or not” within the dish.