Cuddureddi  

Biscottini Siciliani

Cuddureddi

The “Cuddureddi” are homemade cookies originally dedicated to the Greek goddess Demetra or by the Romans to Cerere; later it became part of the Christmas and of the Carnevale traditions, to make and give these cookies to family and friends.
The word “Cudduredda” derives from the Greek word ‘kollura’ which means crown (corona) and in fact originally the cuddureddi cookies were shaped round like a crown or a ring and also in the form of the Greek letter ‘alpha’.

There are many different types of Cuddureddi according to where they are prepared however, the simple recipe using bread dough, cinnamon, cloves and honey, has been transformed by adding must, eggs, almonds, figs, candied orange peels, ricotta and other ingredients produced in the area where these cookies were made; these other components have somehow added newer taste but on the other hand the basic characteristics and the pleasant aroma of cinnamon, cloves and must or honey are always and strongly present.

 

The famous cuddureddi di Delia, in the province of Caltanissetta, also called cuddrureddri, are made for Carnevale. They are made with flour, sugar, eggs, must, honey, cloves, cinnamon and candied orange peels, they are expertly shaped in the form of a crown and fried to an intense shade of brown. To make them, a special tool is needed and it is required a certain expertise.  

In the town of  Calatafimi, in the province of Trapani, the fig cakes, buccellati or cucciddati are called cuddureddi, also there is a type of a light bread, almost like a brioche, in the shape of a crown and it is called cuddureddu.

 

In the province of Siracusa and in some other areas, the cuddureddi are made with flour, water and salt; they are alpha shaped and after being briefly boiled, they are cooked in a carobs’ syrup mixed with honey, cinnamon and cloves.

Finally in other towns and in other provinces, using the same dough, the Cuddureddi are filled with figs and almonds and shaped like a horseshoe with a few cuts on the outside to show the fig filling and baked to a light golden brown.

 

Following are the recipes for:

 

  1. Cuddureddi with ricotta baked or fried; commonly prepared in the western part of the island.  
  2. Traditional Cuddureddi made in Vittoria and in the Province of Ragusa. We are grateful to Mrs. Rita Alia for sharing with us her family recipe.  
  3. Simple and easy to make Cuddureddi baked or fried; mostly popular all over the island.  

 

 

 

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The Cuddureddi with Ricotta

 

Originally prepared for Carnevale, the festival before Lent, these ricotta fritters are now made all year around because they are quickly made, preferred for breakfast, for a snack, or for a tasty dessert to go with Marsala, or with any other Sicilian sweet wine.  

Because the cuddureddi with ricotta also are easy to make, they are popular all over the island, especially on the western part of Sicily; if must is not available honey is used. They are delicious and go well with an espresso coffee or a glass of Marsala.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 lb. ricotta  
  • ¼  lb. sugar  
  • ¼  lb. flour  
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten  
  • pinch of salt  
  • canola oil for frying  

To Garnish

  • zest of 1 orange  
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar  
  • 1 cup must or honey    
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon  
  • ½  teaspoon of ground cloves for garnish  

 

 

Preparation

 

Mix well the ricotta, sugar and flour; add the egg yolks and salt. Quickly blend all the ingredients together and knead into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for a few hours.

 

Prepare some cookie sheets covered with parchment paper or lightly grease them.

Retrieve dough from refrigerator, divide dough in 2 pieces; work one piece at a time, leaving remaining dough covered with a kitchen rag or plastic wrap.
Dust working surface with flour and place the dough in center; fold and press with the palm of your hands a few times and shape into an elongated roll 1½ inch in diameter. Cut it into 1 ½ inch pieces and roll each piece to form a stick about 6 inches long. Seal the ends together to form a circle or in any other preferred shape; place into a pan until ready to fry. 

Over a medium heat, in a deep skillet place 2 inches of oil and bring it to 350 degrees. Fry a few pieces at the time, until light golden, about 1 ½ minutes and then turn to fry the other side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Let the cuddureddi get at room temperature.

 

In a small saucepan combine 2 tablespoons of sugar, zest of the orange and 1 cup of water.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. 
In a large saucepan warm up the honey or the must and add the sugar syrup. Mix it well.

Place the cuddureddi in a serving dish piling them up; drizzle the syrup over and dust with grounded cinnamon and cloves.

 

 

The Cuddureddi Prepared in Vittoria and in the Province of Ragusa

Recipe kindly submitted by Mrs. Rita Alia

 

The cuddureddi made in Ragusa and specifically in Vittoria, are made without being either fried or baked. In fact these cookies are cooked in must, which is boiled grape juice; to finish they are sprinkled with chopped toasted almonds, cinnamon and orange peels.  

In Sicily, Vittoria is one of the biggest producer of wine and in every family pantry, there is some must to use as a sweetener, to add taste in baking and cooking and as a therapeutic remedy for almost any condition.

This recipe is part of Mrs. Alia family’s homemade traditional recipes, which goes back many generations, since her prominent family is one of the oldest and earliest settlers in the town of Vittoria.

 

Ingredients

The Must

 

  • 3 lb. must  
  • Calcium carbonate (It can be found in your local drug store or www.dudadiesel.com)  

The Cuddureddi  

 

  • 1 lb. durum wheat flour + I tablespoon  
  • 1 tablespoon of water  
  • juice of ½ lemon  
  • Enough must to be able to knead the mixture  
  • 1 cup of chopped toasted almonds  
  • 1 cinnamon stick crumbled  
  • ½  teaspoon of ground cloves mixed with 1 tablespoon of sugar, for garnish  
  • Peels of 2 oranges  

 

Preparation

 

Place the must in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce it to about 20%. Set on the side and when it cools off sprinkle the must with 4 tablespoons of calcium carbonate, to reduce its acidity. The calcium carbonate is made from limestone and also called “pietra calcare”.  Wait until the calcium carbonate settles and taste the must to check its sweetness; if it is not sweet enough repeat procedure. Let the must settle and filter it the following day.

 

To ready the orange peels for garnish, rinse with cold water, dry and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. 

When cooled, cut them with scissors into very thin strips to resemble “angel’s hair”-capelli d’angelo.

 

When the must is ready, mound the flour on a flat surface and form a well. Work the lemon juice and water into the flour; add few tablespoons of must, and keep adding, a little at a time, and knead until all the ingredients are blended and it can be formed into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for a few hours.  

 

Prepare some cookie sheets covered with parchment paper or by lightly greasing them.  

Retrieve dough from refrigerator, divide dough in 2 pieces; work one piece at a time, leaving remaining dough covered with a kitchen rag or plastic wrap.
Dust working surface with flour and place the dough in center; fold and press with the palm of your hands a few times. Knead dough to compact, shape each piece into an elongated roll 1½ inch in diameter. Cut it into 12 pieces and roll each piece to form a stick about 6 inches long. Seal the ends together to form a circle or in any other preferred shape and place into a pan.

 

 

After all the cuddureddi are made, bring the remaining must to a boil and place the cookies into it. Simmer at a medium heat for 5 minutes; remove the pot from the fire and keep the cuddureddi in the must for an additional 2 minutes. 

Place the cuddureddi in a serving dish piling them up; and dust them with ground almond, cinnamon, cloves and orange peels. 

 

The Baked or Fried Cuddureddi 

 

The baked cuddureddi are homemade cookies prepared by the housewives because all the ingredients are in every family’s pantry, and because no special skill is needed to make them. And in fact after all components are mixed, the dough is divided into small balls 1 ½ inches big, rolled out to a 6 inches in length and attached at the ends to make a ring shaped cookie. Than it is your choice to bake or fry! 

These cuddureddi are delicious and…highly addictive! 

 

Ingredients 

 

  • 1 lb. durum wheat flour + I tablespoon  
  • ½ cup sugar  
  • 2 oz. butter at room temperature  
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten  
  • 5 tablespoons honey  
  • ¼ cup of red wine  
  • zest of 1 orange  
  • pinch of salt  
  • canola oil for frying  
  • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar for garnish  
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon for garnish  
  • ½  teaspoon of ground cloves for garnish  

 

 

Preparation 

 

Form a well with the flour. Work the butter and sugar into the flour; add the eggs, honey, wine, zest and salt. Quickly mix all the ingredients together and knead into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for a few hours.  

 

Prepare some cookie sheets covered with parchment paper or lightly grease them.  

Retrieve dough from refrigerator, divide dough in 2 pieces; work one piece at a time, leaving remaining dough covered with a kitchen rag or plastic wrap.
Dust working surface with flour and place the dough in center; fold and press with the palm of your hands a few times and cut into 2 parts. Knead dough to compact, shape each piece into an elongated roll 1½ inch in diameter. Cut it into 6 pieces and roll each piece to form a stick about 6 inches long. Seal the ends together to form a circle or in any other preferred shape; place into a pan until ready to fry or bake.  

 

 

Over a medium heat, in a deep skillet place 2 inches of oil and bring it to 350 degrees. Fry a few pieces at a time, until light golden brown on one side, about 1 ½ minutes and then turn to fry the other side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. 

Or heat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until light golden brown. 

Mix the 3 tablespoons of sugar with cinnamon and cloves and sprinkle over the warm cuddureddi. Serve warm or at room temperature.