Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cuccidati


When I was a kid, I hated these cookies.  Hated them, bleghk, tooey, yuck. Now, I love them.  But I really love them because they are home made and they are the best Italian fig cookie I have ever made or eaten.  And the pastry dough for these babies is amazing.  I will use it ins ome other applications I think.  It is so tender and delicious.


My Mother prefers them without icing.  Me, well, it has to have icing! 

Cuccidati
Italian Fig Cookie recipe followed almost perfectly from this recipe at Epicurious.

1 cup packed soft dried Mission figs (8 oz), hard tips discarded
3/4 cup raisins (3 3/4 oz)
3/4 cup mild honey
1/4 cup brandy
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup whole almonds (4 oz), toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup walnuts (3 oz), toasted and coarsely chopped
For pastry dough
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange or lemon zest
For icing
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice


Make filling:
Roast nuts until lightly golden.  Let cool and pulse until chopped in food processor.  Remove from processor   Pulse figs and raisins in a food processor until finely chopped, then stir together with remaining filling ingredients in a bowl. Chill, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

Make dough:
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and blend with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and zest and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms. Halve dough and gather each half into a ball, then flatten each half into a rough 6- by 4-inch rectangle between sheets of plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 8 hours.

Form cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll out 1 rectangle of dough (keep remaining dough chilled) into a 15- by 14-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin.  Trim away rough edges and cut dough horizontally every three inches.  Make logs of fillings and place on dough sheets. Carefully fold up a side and roll over filling to enclose it, pinching edges together to seal. Turn rolls seam-sides down and press gently to flatten seams. Cut logs crosswise with a floured knife into 1 1/2-inch-wide slices and arrange 1/2 inch apart on buttered large baking sheets.

Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven until golden around edges, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool until warm, about 10 minutes.

Make icing while first batch of cookies bake:
Whisk together confectioners sugar, vanilla, and enough orange juice to make a runny icing.  Either pour icing over top or spread icing quickly with a knife.  Make sure you stop frequently to put on nonpareils because the icing dries fast.  Let cool completely before storing.



2 comments:

Jennifurla said...

These must have so much flavor, they look lovely.

grace said...

i've seen these on cookie trays but i've never asked what they were or eaten them! now that i know, i won't be passing them by any longer. :)

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