Viva Santa Lucia!
Cuccìa, pictured, is a pudding made from wheat berries (or barley, spelt, or farro) prepared in honor of the Feast of Santa Lucia, December 13. Cuccìa became the traditional dish of the feast because during a famine in the 17th century, Siracusans prayed to Lucia, the patroness of wheat and grain, for relief. She miraculously delivered (of course!)! Ships carrying grain arrived and were seized by the famished populace. The citizens of Siracusa were so hungry, they couldn’t wait to dry the grain, mill it, and make it into bread and pasta. They simply soaked and then boiled the grains to make pudding that is similar in style to an ancient Roman and Greek traditional food.
To make cuccìa, the soaked grain is mixed with fresh ricotta, anise liqueur, confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, dark chocolate, lemon zest, and candied orange and lemon peel.
The one pictured was served as our dessert at Cacio e Vino on Sunday.