2022 has been a good year. I want to thank our readers, clients, friends and family supporting Casa Mia. We are grateful. We love what we do and hope that you continue to join us online and in person.
Year end is a time for celebration; a time to sit around a table in person or remotely with loved ones; a time to toast, laugh, and eat. No celebration would be complete without dessert. Buccellati is one of the 10 Italian desserts that I hadn’t eaten before living in Italy. The Sicilian fig-stuffed sweets are my must bake Christmas cookie.
In the past, desserts filled with dried fruits appeared around harvest time as cooler temperatures approached, a sign of bountiful crops. Despite bakers making buccellati year round they are linked to Christmas festivities. Baked as cookies or in the shape of a wreath they are simply delicious.
There is no single recipe for this Christmas delight; some call for dessert wine; all recipes use nuts, mostly almonds. Happy baking!
Yield: Approximately 30 cookies
Ingredients for the dough
- 4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 stick and 1 oz. butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp baking powder
Ingredients for the filling
- 1/2 cup home made or high quality jam (black plum, strawberry and cherry work well, choose your favorite)
- 6 oz. dried figs, chopped
- 3/4 cup vino cotto
- 4 tbsp walnuts or 4 tbsp pistachios or a combination, chopped
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
Ingredients for the icing
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- juice of 1 or 2 lemons
- pistacchio granules for decorating
For the filling
Place the figs in a saucepan. Add the jam, vino cotto and nuts. Stir frequently over low heat until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
For the dough
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Pile the flour in a mound on a work surface. Make a well in the center. Add the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and baking powder. Mix with your hands incorporating the flour into the well little by little, until the dough forms. If the dough is too dry add a tablespoon of milk to moisten it. Divide the dough into quarters. Place dough under a damp kitchen towel.
Roll one quarter of the dough into a rectangle. The dough should be about 1/4″ thick. Use a spoon to spread the filling along the bottom third of the dough. Fold the bottom over the filling. Fold the top over, enclosing the filling within the dough. It will look like a log. Turn the log over (seam-side down) and press gently to flatten it. Cut into 2-3 inch pieces. Gently shape each cookie into a moon shape. Make 3 slits on the rounded side of each buccellato. Place the cookies on an unlined baking sheet. Repeat until dough and filling are finished. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until golden brown. Place cookies on a rack to cool.
For the icing
In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the lemon juice. Mix until smooth. When the cookies are cool, brush with the icing and sprinkle with pistachio granules. I ice one-half of the cookies and leave the others unfrosted.