Cuccìa is a wheat berry (also barely, spelt, or farro) pudding made in honor of the Feast of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of wheat and grain. I made this cuccìa pictured, following the recipe in Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Sicily cookbook. Cuccìa became the traditional dish of the December 13 feast because during the famine in the 17th century, when ships carrying grain arrived (or were seized by the famished populous), the citizens of Siracusa couldn’t wait to dry the grain, mill it, and make it into bread and pasta. They were hungry, so they simply soaked and then boiled the grains to make pudding that is similar in style to an ancient Roman or Greek tradition.
Locatelli’s cuccìa recipe calls for fresh ricotta, anise liqueur, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, dark chocolate, lemon zest, and candied orange and lemon peel.