The ever best nucatoli (figs and nuts) cookies. Other most famous recipe from Sicilian tradition.
- 1 stick of sweet butter (4 oz.) melted but not hot
- 2 ½ cups of flour
- 1 medium egg
- 1 yolk
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- pinch of salt
- cold water if needed
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- skin of 2 oranges
- ½ lb. of dry figs stemmed and finely diced
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- skin of 1 lemon
- ½ lb. of lightly toasted almonds or pistachios, finely diced
- ½ cup of honey
- Prepare the orange and lemon peels for the filling: rinse with cold water, dry and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. When cooled, cut them with scissors into thin strips and finely dice.
- In a medium size, pot without a cover, at a medium heat place the diced orange and lemon peels, one tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of sugar; bring to a boil and mix into the figs, almonds (or pistachios), cinnamon and fold the honey into it.
- Simmer at a very low heat, stirring continuously. Do not cover!
- Filling is ready when it comes off from the side and it forms into a mass; about 5 minutes.
- If mixture is too thick,add extra honey, a little at a time, until the right consistency is obtained; in fact mixture should be thick enough to make it possible to shape it into the size of a small breadsticks, to fill the nucatoli.
- Transfer into a bowl to cool, and use at room temperature or cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days; when ready to use bring the filling at room temperature.
- Lightly whisk egg and yolk.
- Combine the flour with the butter, salt and the eggs. Add the honey, mix thoroughly and bring the dough together to form a ball. If the dough is to dry, add a few drops of water to moisten.
- Fold and press with the palm of your hands; if dough is sticky, add some more flour. Do not over mix.
- When dough forms into a single mass, cover with a kitchen rag or plastic wrap, set aside, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Prepare some cookie sheets by lightly greasing and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Retrieve dough from refrigerator, dust working surface with a little flour and place the dough in the center; fold and press with the palm of your hands a few times and with the help of a rolling pin, flatten the pastry dough to about less than 1/8 of an inch thick. Use a scalloped edge pastry wheel and cut dough into 2 ½” X 6” rectangles.
- Spoon out and place lengthwise some filling in the center of each strip, 1 tablespoon or more, shaped like a breadstick, leaving clear at least ¾” on each side.
- Fold the 6” sides to enclose only the sides of the filling and leave open the top showing the dry fruits and honey mixture, the nucatuli.
- Place into cookie sheets or greased pans 2 inches apart and shape the nucatuli into an “S” form.
- Bake until lightly golden, at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and store in airtight containers.
- Serve at room temperature.