Fig Cookies or Cucidati
My Italian grandmother made these for Christmas but I did not get this recipe from her. I found this one in A Baker's Guide to Christmas Cookies and knew I had to try it. The book describes it as "a tender rolled pastry filled with as sophisticated filling moist with figs [and] flavored with apricot, raisins, candied peel, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves." These take time to make but are not difficult. This recipe is Dede Wilson's version of the traditional Sicilian recipe using traditional ingredients but adapting the procedure.
Servings 75 cookies
- Food processor
- Plastic Wrap
- Medium Saucepan
- Cookie Sheets
- Parchment Paper
- 4 cups All Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- ¾ cup Chilled Unsalted Butter (cut into tablespoons)
- ¼ cup Chilled Vegetable Shortening (cut into pieces)
- 4 Large Eggs
- 2 cups Dried Whole Calimynra Figs (about 14) (cut into pieces)
- 1 ½ cup Water
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup Blanched or Natural Almonds
- ⅓ cup Dark Raisins
- ⅓ cup Golden Raisins
- ¼ cup 100% Apricot Spreadable Fruit
- ¼ cup Diced Candied Orange Peel
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Ground Cloves
- 1 Large Egg
- Course Sugar
- Multicolored Nonpareils or Sprinkles
- Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a food processor.
- With the machine on, add butter and shortening a few pieces at a time through feed tube and process until evenly combined and mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Pulse in eggs one at a time until mixture forms large, moist clumps.
- Scrape dough onto large piece of plastic wrap, cover completely with wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
- Combine figs, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until figs are fork tender, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer to food processor and process into a thick, smooth paste.
- Add almonds and process until nuts are finely chopped within the paste.
- Add remaining filling ingredients and pulse until combined.
- (Filling can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated in airtight container.)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide dough into 8 pieces.
- Shape each piece by rolling beneath your palms on a lightly floured surface into 1 inch diameter rope; then toll rope out flat with a rolling pin to a ¼ inch thickness, about 3 inches wide and 20 inches long.
- Spread filling down center, making a 1 inch wide x ½ inch thick strip of filling.
- Fold both sides over the filling and pinch firmly to close.
- Use hands to squeeze the cylinder gently and roll back and forth to coax into a round shape; have seam side down.
- Make slashes at ¼ inch intervals all along the pastry, then cut into 3 inch lengths.
- Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets and bend into a crescent shape.
- Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Whisk egg until frothy.
- Brush egg on cookies and sprinkle with coarse sugar, sprinkles, or nonpareils.
- Bake until light golden brown around edges and on bottom, about 20 minutes.
- Slide parchment onto racks to cool cookies completely.