Cuccidati: Sicilian Christmas Cookies

Cuccidati, pictured, are traditional Sicilian cookies stuffed with dried fig filling. Associated with Christmas, both professional and home bakers make them, and some are more elaborately decorated than others. The filling is made with (This is a common recipe, but not all are exactly the same.) chopped dried figs, pumpkin jam, honey, raisins, almonds, orange…

Sicilian Style Panettone And Pandoro

Although panettone and pandoro, Italian Christmas breads/cakes, originated in northern Italy, there are some outstanding ones made in Sicily: Specifically in Castelbuono (Palermo province) in the Madonie mountains and in Belpasso (Catania province) at the southern foot of Mount Etna. I can’t wait to open my panettone from Castelbuono (and heat it in the oven)…

Sicilian Christmas Cookies

Pastries made with filling of chopped dried figs, pumpkin jam, honey, raisins, almonds, orange rind, cinnamon, and Marsala wine are closely associated with Christmas in Sicily. There is a larger, round, cake-like pastry called buccellato, which is also made in an elaborate cookie-sized version known as buccellati. Meanwhile, cuccidati, pictured here, are their sister. They…

Saint Stephen’s Day in Sicily

Today is Saint Stephen’s Day, a national holiday in Italy. Sicilians and Italians spend the day with family and friends visiting presepi di Natale, or nativity scenes, like this one pictured, made by Zio Lillo in Sant’Angelo Muxaro, north of Agrigento. Even more elaborate are ones presented by actors or townspeople dressed as the Holy…