Sicilian Fig Bars

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes about

    30

    cookies

Appears in

Although fig bars are standard American fare, fig-filled cookies are also very traditional in Sicily, where they are called cucidati. I’ve decided to merge the two and make a fig bar that is shaped like the industrially made one, but has some typical Sicilian seasonings in it for extra flavor.

Ingredients

  • pounds (700 grams) dried Calimyrna figs
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup apricot preserves
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 batch dough as for Biscotti Regina
  • 2 cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans lined with parchment or foil

Method

  1. To make the filling, use kitchen scissors to snip the stems from the figs (they are very sharp and hard), and snip each fig into 5 or 6 pieces. In a large saucepan, combine the figs, water, apricot preserves, rum, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir to mix well.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low and let the filling simmer until it is thickened, but not extremely thick, about 10 minutes. Cool the filling and purée it in the food processor with the metal blade. You can refrigerate both the dough and filling for a couple of days before continuing if you’re preparing in advance.
  3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  4. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll each into a rope about 12 inches (30 cm) long. Place 1 rope on a floured work surface and press and roll it to make a rectangle of dough about 4 inches (10 cm) wide and 12 inches (30 cm) long. Pipe or spoon about 1/6 of the filling down the middle of the dough, spreading it about 2 inches (5 cm) wide with a small offset spatula. Use a pastry brush to paint the exposed dough with water, then lift up the dough all around to enclose the filling within a tube of dough. Pinch the seam closed where the 2 edges of dough meet. Turn the filled piece of dough over so that the seam is on the bottom, and transfer it to one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing 3 filled dough cylinders on each pan. Gently flatten the cylinders of dough with the palm of your hand.
  5. Bake the cookies until the dough is set and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. About halfway through the baking, place the pan from the lower rack on the upper one and vice versa, turning the pans back to front at the same time. If you know that your oven gives strong bottom heat, place the pan on the lower rack stacked on top of a second rack for insulation.
  6. Cool the cookies on the pans. When they are cool, trim the edges and use a sharp knife to cut them into -inch (6-mm) lengths.

Storage

Keep the cookies at room temperature between sheets of wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

Loading
Loading
Loading