In my last post I mentioned spending time with my mom baking cookies. This Italian filled cookie is our half Calabrian, one quarter Abruzzi and a quarter Roman rendition of the Sicilian cookie called a Cucidati. The traditional Cucidati is a fig filled cookie with three different nuts, pistachio's, almonds and walnuts, chopped dried and soaked figs, raisins and apricots, orange and lemon peel and many more amazing ingrediants. It's a wonderful cookie and well worth the time it takes to make. We altered it quite a bit and wouldn't even think of taking the Cucidati name for the original, so we just call it an Italian Filled Cookie. This more simplified version is my favorite though, with the bulk of the filling being apple butter, soaked raisins and chocolate pieces, infused with cinnamon, cloves and rum. The memories of Christmases past all rushed back to me with the first bite.
Buon Appetito and Happy Holiday Baking!
Ciao and Hugs,
2 1/2 - 3 cups Apple Butter
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup dark raisins soaked in rum or marsala then drained
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup dark rum or marsala
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. grated orange zest
Mix ingredients together. Mixture should be thick so it doesn't seep out of the pastry dough when sealed.
Taste and adjust to your liking.
Pastry Recipe by Nick Malgieri
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
12 Tbsp. butter (1 1/2 sticks), cold
2 to 3 Tbsp. milk
Combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl and stir to mix. Rub in the butter, creating a powdery mixture. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and 2 T. of the milk and stir this into the flour mixture to form a dough. If the dough is too dry add the extra T. of milk. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly a few times. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill while preparing the filling.
There are a few styles of preparation I use but I am going to give you the most simple procedure here.
Flour the work surface and the dough lightly. Divide the dough in 3, with rolling pin roll out each into a cylinder around 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut out discs with with orange juice sized glasses, egg wash inside edge. Fill with around a teaspoon or so of filling, fold over and crimp with a fork to seal.
Place around a 1/2 inch apart on parchment lined baking/cookie sheets.
Bake the filled cookies in a preheated 350˚oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until they are light golden in color. Cool on racks. Store in tins between layers of wax paper.
Sugar Glaze Cookie Topping
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Drizzle milk 1 tsp. at a time over powdered sugar whisking well. Glaze should be thin but not watery. Thick enough to brush on with a pastry brush but thin enough to be translucent. Sprinkle confetti on cookies immediately after glazing.