Italian Fig Cookies (Cuchidahti or Cucidate)

My grandparents had a large fig tree at the back end of their yard in Gentilly. Each summer, when the fruit would be almost ripe, we’d go back there and pick loads of them. We could never get them all and most of them would just fall to the ground and rot in the hot New Orleans’ sun. What a smell! But I loved those figs and it seemed like everyone the neighborhood had one of these trees. The little old ladies would made jams, preserves, cakes and these cookies from them.

These cookies are like hard Fig Newtons. They come in bags of maybe 5 or 6 large planks, are usually iced different pastel colors, have sprinkles and can be found at most grocery stores in the GNO. G. and I had some on St. Joseph’s day this past Spring bought at Breaux Mart on Severn Ave. in Metairie (followed later that evening by a Hubig’s pie and half a piece of Russian Cake). Heaven.

Italian Fig Cookies

Filling:
1 lb. dried figs
1/2 lb pitted dates
rind from 1/2 orange
1 cup glazed fruit
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Dough:
4 1/4 cups AP flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups butter
1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons cold water

Icing:
3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. anise flavoring
Dash of salt

Remove hard stems from figs. Soak them in warm water for 20 minutes. Grind your figs, dates, orange rind, raisins and glazed fruit in a food processor. Add all filling ingredients into a large saucepan and heat thoroughly, you want everything to be incorporated well. Remove from heat and set aside.

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or knife until crumbly. Sprinkle the cold water in and toss lightly with a fork until mixed. Add remaining water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing until dough is smooth. Heat oven to 275 degrees and take half the dough on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle (it should be about 1/8“ thick). Cut into 3” wide strips and spread 4 tablespoons of filling down the center of each strip, leave about 1“ on either side. Moisten the bare sides with water, fold over and press lightly with a fork to seal. Cut each strip into 6-2” cookies, cut and slit in the fold side of each cookie, almost like giving it gills. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, bending each cookie into a slight curve. Bake about 20 minutes until bottoms are brown. While cookies are baking sift confectioner’s sugar into a mixing bowl, add milk, salt and anise flavor and beat until smooth. This is a runny icing that will dry hard. When done baking, remove from each cookie from cookie sheet and cool them on a wire rack, then ice. Repeat with remaining half of dough and filling.

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3 thoughts on “Italian Fig Cookies (Cuchidahti or Cucidate)

  1. Many great memories eating cuchidaties. Mom always put some in a tin container with a lid. She placed an open jar with rum or bourbon in the center and we’d carefully slide the container under the bed where it would stay for a week.
    These were generally eaten on Christmas eve
    and of course we kids were allowed a small
    glass of wine with them.

  2. Has anyone a recipe for an onion cheese bread.
    When making Italian bread it is allowed to rise once and then worked and allowed to rise a 2nd time before baking. If you were in a hurry after the first rising it would be worked in a pie pan a little thicker than a pie crust then brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with grated cheese and chopped onions and then fingers were used to poke the cheese and onions into the base. Baked until golden brown and eaten hot. I forget its name but it sounded a little like ska cha ta.

  3. I am looking for a cookie dipped in a fig syrup. it was a rolled and twisted cookie either baked or deep fried, then dippped in fig syrup…delicious

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