Away in a Manger

Throughout Sicily, building and viewing presepe, or the nativity scene, is a Christmas tradition. From table top diorama-sized statues, like this one pictured from Chiesa di San Bartolomeo in Scicli, to performances featuring actors and live animals that can be found in towns like Sutera, Gangi, and Termini Imerese, to name just a few, displaying…

I Can’t Figgettabout Buccellato

These beautifully sculpted cookies are called buccellato (single pastry/cookie) or buccellati (plural). Buccellati are very closely associated with Christmas in Sicily. They are pastries stuffed with dried figs and raisins or chopped almonds and chocolate. These pictured, from Maria Grammatico Pasticceria in Erice, are of the fig variety. I don’t know Maria Grammatico’s recipe exactly,…

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Buon Natale! Mother and child, Maria S.S. di Conadomini, Patron Saint of Caltagirone also known as “Our Lady of the Bread” in recognition of her protection of farmers and their crops. May peace be with you, your family, and loved-ones this Christmas!

Christmas Cuccidati

Cuccidati, pictured here, are another version of “buccellato.” Cuccidati are stuffed with the same dried fig filling as buccellato, yet they are presented in a smaller, cookie form–some more elaborately decorated than others. The fig filling is still some variation of chopped dried figs, pumpkin jam, honey, raisins, almonds, orange rind, cinnamon, and Marsala wine–and…

Oh, Bring Us Some Buccellato

During the month of December, especially in the mountain town of Caccamo in the province of Palermo, professional and home bakers prepare buccellato and other confections in celebration of Christmas. Buccellato is realized as a wreath-shaped cake or as pastries stuffed with dried figs and raisins or chopped almonds and chocolate. These buccellati pictured contain…