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Make This Fig Crostata for the Holidays

Our contributor shares her version of a family dessert recipe that is great for the holidays or anytime this winter.

Photo of a fig crostata.

Fig crostata.

Usually, I am a stickler for doing things, especially those that have been handed down to me by my grandmothers, as I learned them. Sometimes, there is a time, a place, and a way to be creative and innovative reinterpret things.

My grandmother, an excellent baker, made cuccidati, or Sicilian fig cookies, every Christmas. These cookies, filled with fig, chocolate, orange, and nuts are one of the definitive tastes of the holiday; its just not Christmas without them.

I created this crostata based on those cookies for times when there are just a few of us, and I don’t need dozens upon dozens of cookies. It also makes an elegant, easy enough, and delicious dessert for any winter gathering, not only Christmas.

Like cuccidati, it’s full of figs, chocolate, orange ,and almonds and walnuts, the tastes of Sicily, in a simple and easy enough crostata. Some people use raisins in cuccidati, I don’t and don’t use them here.

I encourage creativity, so if you  have your own way of making cuccidati, use that. Don’t like walnuts? Use almonds or the other way around. Be creative!

I also highly recommend making the dough and the filling the day before you bake your crostata.

Figs will need to be re-hydrated, how long this takes depends on how dry they are. I prefer to buy figs that are on the more moist side.

Fig Crostata

Fig Crostata

Recipe by Chiara Montalto Giannini
0.0 from 0 votes
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

Ingredients

  • For the Dough
  • 1.5 cups 1.5 flour

  • 1 envelope 1 lievito panenangeli or 1.5 tsp baking powder

  • 3/4 cups 3/4 sugar

  • Pinch salt

  • 3/4 3/4 stick unsalted butter, cold, and broken into small pieces

  • 1 1 egg beaten

  • Liquid from soaking figs/ or cold water

  • Drop of Marsala

  • For the filling
  • 1 package 1 dried figs

  • 1 1 orange (juice and peel)

  • Water, to cover figs

  • Drop of Marsala or Cointreau (optional)

  • About 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped fine

  • Almonds and/or walnuts ( about 3/4 cups total)

  • Candied orange peel, chopped fine, to taste

  • Fiori di Sicilia, to taste

Directions

  • To rehydrate figs**
  • Place them in a small bowl
  • Cover them with the juice and peel of one orange, water, and a drop of Marsala
  • Rehydrate them for at least 30 minutes or longer, depending on how dry they are.
  • When they are done, remove from liquid, squeeze out excess liquid.
  • Reserve liquid.
  • To make the dough
  • Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of food processor.
  • Add butter, little by little and pulse until the mixture is the size of small peas/ gravel.
  • Add egg slowly
  • Add reserved liquid and drop of marsala and mix until a ball of dough forms. (See picture)
  • Refrigerate dough until ready to use, (I do this overnight)
  • To make the filling
  • Place figs (with excess liquid removed) into bowl of food processor
  • Pulse until they break into smaller pieces
  • Add nuts, chocolate, candied orange peel and Fiori di Sicilia and mix until it becomes almost like a thick jam or paste,
  • Adding reserved liquid only if you have to (See picture)
  • It should be thick - but spreadable.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use; preferably overnight
  • To bake and assemble
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Grease and flour your pan (I use a 11 x 7 rectangular tart pan)
  • Roll out dough to fit the pan (If you have any excess dough, reserve it to decorate the tart).
  • Prick dough with a fork and pre bake about 12 minutes.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Spread fig mixture in a thick, even layer on top.
  • If using excess dough to decorate, do so, and return to oven to bake another 15-18 minutes till done.
  • Remove from oven and decorate with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and/or sprinkles.

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