Yuletide favourites: Sicilian Cuccie

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By Debbie Yong

The Business Times

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013

  • Extra meaningful

    Lino Sauro
    Chef-owner of month-old Italian small plates bar Morsi and Sorsi in Telok Ayer; and Gattopardo, which relocates to Tras Street in January

    "In Sicily, like in many parts of the Christian world, Christmas is both a sacred religious festival and also an important time for reuniting with the family. Growing up, I'd often spend Christmas at my parents' home. Going to church is a must on Christmas Eve, and then we would spend the whole day gathered around the fireplace and a dinner table filled with food. My mother would always do the cooking, and it was a tradition that everyone in the family would get a small gift.

    "I've believed in Santa Claus since I was young, and this year is extra meaningful because I will get to play the part of Santa Claus for my son, Noah. My wife, Constanza, and I, will be celebrating Christmas twice this year. First, at a chalet barbecue in East Coast for our closest friends and their children. On Christmas night, my wife, our son and I will have a smaller, more intimate celebration at home, where we will exchange presents."

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  • For the pastry dough
  • 500g flour
  • 150g of lard or butter
  • 150g of sugar
  • 125ml Marsala wine
  • 2 eggs
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 5g of baking soda
  • A pinch of salt; and a pinch of cinnamon
  • For the filling
  • 300g of raisins
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 150g of dried figs
  • 150g of sugar
  • 100g of chocolate drops
  • 100ml of water
  • 50g of cocoa powder
  • 50g of chopped pine nuts
  • 50g of chopped pistachios
  • 50g of diced pumpkin
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • One teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1. Prepare the dough by mixing all the ingredients by hand
  • 2. Leave in fridge for one hour wrapped in a moistened towel
  • 3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients using an electric blender. Make sure the raisins have been softened in water and the pistachios, almonds and pine nuts have been toasted
  • 4. Roll out the dough to a one cm thick sheet using a wooden pin roll, fill it with the dried fruit filling and shape it according to your preference
  • 5. Bake the pastries for 35 minutes at 165 deg C and when ready and still warm, dust a layer of icing sugar on top
  • 6. Enjoy with an aromatic sweet wine such as Zibibbo or Moscato di Pantelleria