Cucciddati | Italian Christmas Cookies
Cucciddati are a Sicilian Christmas treat, typically served either in cookie form (as shown here) or in one, solid "crown" shape.
The rich filling, made from figs, nuts and chocolate, gets all of its sweetness from the ingredients themselves, with no extra sugar. No one will believe you when you tell them, though! The dough and filling need to rest for at least a day, so plan ahead!
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
Makes about 18-20 cookies.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 9 oz. (250g) dried Turkish figs
- 1/8 cup (20g) raisins
- 9 tbsp (130g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (130g) powdered sugar
- Orange zest to taste
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 cup (270g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 cup (60g) crushed almonds
- 1/2 cup (60g) crushed walnuts
- 3 tbsp orange or apricot marmalade, plus extra for topping
- 1/4 cup (50g) candied fruit
- 3.5 oz. (100g) dark chocolate, shaved
- 3 tsp marsala wine
- Ground nutmeg
- Fresh black pepper
- Crushed pistacchio nuts for topping
Begin by placing the figs and raisins (separately) in water to soak while you prepare the dough.
In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and powdered sugar. Working quickly (to keep the butter from melting completely) mix thoroughly either by hand or with a whisk. The result should be a thick cream, almost like frosting.
Next, mix in orange zest to taste (about 1/2 tsp) and the egg. Finally, add the flour and a pinch of salt. Knead all together until you can form a smooth ball. Again, work quickly! Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
In a mixing bowl, combine the crushed nuts, marmalade, candied fruit, and shaved chocolate. We recommend shaving the chocolate by hand, either with a sharp knife or with a cheese grater.
Drain the figs, trim the stems off, and blend them into a thick paste. You can also mince them by hand, if you prefer. Add these into the filling mix. Drain the raisins and squeeze out the excess moisture before adding these as well.
Add the marsala wine, plus cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper to taste.
Mix all together thoroughly by hand. Spread the filling onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a long, sausage shape—about 1.5-2" in diameter. The roll should be round and of an even thickness throughout. Wrap it up tightly in the plastic and refrigerate.
Both the dough and the filling should be refrigerated for at least one day.
Dust a large work surface with flour and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Press together any cracks that form as you work, and dust the dough as needed if it sticks. The dough must be rolled out until it is large enough to completely wrap around the filling "sausage."
Unwrap the filling and place it in the middle of the dough sheet. Wrap it tightly around the "sausage," trim off any excess dough, and press the edges together to seal the roll shut.
Slice the roll into 1-inch thick cookies and arrange them vertically on a parchement paper-lined baking sheet. For best results, we recommend refrigerating the cookies again for at least 3 hours or up to one day.
When you're ready to bake, preheat an oven to 390 degrees F or 200 C. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes or until golden on top.
Allow the cookies to cool completely, then top with some brushed marmalade and crushed pistacchio nuts. Buon appetito!