Wednesday, December 22, 2010

italian fig cookies

to be honest
this is more of a st. joseph's day treat
than a christmas one
but
truth be told
they are good
any time of year
be warned
this is not a fig newton facsimile
these are spicy and heady and filled with riches
wrapped in a buttery italian pastry
called
pasta frolla
my presentation isn't typical either
they are usually rolled in a tube-shape 
and cut in sections

on a cookie tray
i find them to stay fresh a bit longer
when presented like this
italian fig cookies
cucidati
(printable recipe)
pasta frolla
4 cups flour
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter--cold and cut into pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
using a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt a few times to ensure fully mixed.  drop in the butter and pulse until the butter has incorporated completely turning the mixture into a powder.  add the eggs and vanilla and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball.  remove and wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. 
filling
12 oz dried figs (i use calimyrna)
1/2 cup currants or raisins
zest of 1 orange finely grated
1/3 cup blanched, slivered almonds--toasted
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate--cut into pieces or chips
3 heaping Tablespoons apricot preserves
3 Tbs dark rum
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
light pinch ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
egg beaten with a bit of water for egg wash
powdered sugar glaze or royal icing for decoration
sprinkles for decoration
if the figs are hard and dry, place them in a bowl of hot water to soften, drain and then proceed with recipe.   dice the figs and place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. stir to fully incorporate. place the entire mixture in the food processor, fitted with steel blade and pulse until you have a paste.  place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
roll the dough out to 1/4" and cut with a small round, plain or scalloped cookie cutter. place just a small bit of fig on top of half the cutouts.  brush a bit of egg wash with a brush on the outer edge of the dough. place a second piece of dough on top and press with tines of fork or toothpick to seal.  brush top with egg wash.  bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. you have to watch to see that they don't burn, you want them just starting to brown on the bottom.
when cool, leave plain or drizzle a bit of powdered sugar glaze (powdered sugar and milk to a runny consistency), or royal icing and add a few sprinkles.  





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