Sandra Scalise Juneau's Cuccidata, Sicilian Fig Cookies

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Total Time
1hr
Prep
30 mins
Cook
30 mins

I love figs - they have slowly become progressively more uncommon in the American diet; I suspect because they are tender & do not transport well when fresh & have limited commercial value. In our area there are old fig trees in almost every back or side yard but few people eat them - such a shame. They used to be so important that folks would cook little pear shaped cherry tomatoes in sugar syrup & then pack in sugar for winter use as fig substitutes. Figs are very nutritious - high in manganese, magnesium, copper, potassium & vitamin K... and delicious to boot! This recipe calls for the ability to grind the dried figs to get the right texture. This will be my first foray into using my Electrolux for grinding. Oh, the recipe says it makes "several dozen" - i'm gonna guess and say 3 dozen but that's a guess until I make it.

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Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. FIG FILLING:.
  2. Remove stems from figs. Rinse thoroughly in warm water to soften. Drain.
  3. Season figs with cinnamon, mixing thoroughly. Coat with honey, then add orange zest and black pepper, blending thoroughly. Grind fig mixture, using an electric meat grinder (not a food processor), to a fine texture.
  4. After mixture is ground, mix thoroughly to blend all ingredients. Separate into 1- or 2-pound packages, wrapped in plastic food wrap and sealed in plastic bags. (Keep several weeks, refrigerated, or freeze for up to 6 months.
  5. CUCCIADATA DOUGH:.
  6. Add shortening to flour and blend (by hand or food processor) to a cornmeal texture.
  7. In another bowl, add warm water (not boiling) to sugar to dissolve. Gradually add sugar/water to flour mixture, blending until dough forms a ball. If dough is too dry, gradually add more water as needed. Cover and let dough rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Separate dough into workable-sized balls, about 3 inches across. Knead each ball to a smooth texture and return to bowl. Cover again; let dough rest several more minutes.
  9. Roll a 2-inch ball of dough to the thickness of pie pastry. Cut dough into strips about 4 inches wide by 12 inches long. Shape a piece of the fig filling into a rope about ½ inch wide and 12 inches long. Center the rope on a strip of pastry. Fold sides of pastry over filling, overlapping dough slightly. Turn over with seam side down and pat lightly to flatten.
  10. With a sharp small knife, cut the rope at an angle into 1-inch long bars, cutting slits in sides and one on top to allow for thorough cooking. Place on cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated 250-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, until cookies are slightly browned on the bottom only.
  11. Allow to cool before icing.
  12. ICING:.
  13. Add almond flavoring to milk and gradually blend into sugar, mixing to a smooth paste. Icing should be the texture of heavy cream.
  14. Working over a small bowl, spoon icing onto each (cooled) cookie. Let excess drip into the bowl. Let cookie dry slightly before sprinkling with colored non-pareils.
  15. Cookies must dry completely before packaging.