How to Make Cuccidati Sicilian Fig Cookies
Personal family recipe. loosely re-organized using a recipe by Nick Malgieri.
Cuccidati are wonderful tasting cookies of Sicilian origin. This preparation, probably the precursor of the American fig bars, is dear to many American-Italians of Sicilian descent.
My mother was not big at baking. Her cooking was basic and simple as she was too busy taking care of me and my three sisters (not an easy task). Living in Rome she missed Sicily and Sicilian sweets, and fig cookies were her favorites. They are relatively simple to prepare, and they taste fantastic.
for the dough
4 cups (560 gr) flour
2/3 cup (150 gr) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (220 gr) butter
for the filling
12 oz (340 gr) dried figs, finely diced
1/2 cup (50 gr) raisins
1/2 cup (30 gr) candied orange, diced
1/2 cup (50 gr) almonds, finely chopped
3 oz (85 gr) semi-sweet chocolate, cut into small dice
1/3 cup (100 gr) apricot preserve
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
for the egg wash
pinch of salt
multicolored nonpareil (optional)
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Run the blade a few times to mix.
Add the butter to the bowl and pulse to combine. Add the eggs, and run the blade until forming a consistent dough.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface . . .
. and wrap in a plastic foil. Place in the refrigerator.
Place the figs in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil.
Drain thoroughly and cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the figs, raisins, candied orange, almonds, chocolate, apricot preserve, rum, cinnamon, and cloves. Pulse the blade until a smooth compound is obtained.
Transfer the fig paste to a bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
Prepare the egg wash by beating the eggs with a pinch of salt.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and unwrap it on a floured work surface. Add a small quantity of flour. Knead the dough to make it soft and smooth.
Cut the dough into 10 – 12 pieces. With the help of a rolling pin, flatten each piece .
. into a rectangle approximately 3 x 15 inch (7 x 35 cm).
Brush the egg wash on the dough.
Place approximately 1/3 cup of filling in the center of the rectangle lengthwise.
Take one edge of the dough and bring it over the filling to form a roll.
With the palm of your hands roll the cylinder to make it even.
Cut the roll into 4–5 pieces approximately 3 – 4 inch (8 – 10 cm) long. Set them aside. Continue forming the rolls until all the dough and the filling are used.
Using a sharp knife, cut 4 – 5 diagonal incisions on the surface of the rolls.
You can also cut straight incisions on the surface of the rolls, and curve the cookies in a ”U” shape
Or cut the extremities and give the cookies a ”X” shape
Transfer the rolls to 3 cookie pans lined with parchment paper. Brush the surface of the buccellati with the remaining egg wash.
Optionally sprinkle with multicolored nonpareil.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Transfer onto racks to cool.