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Cucidati

2 cup dried figs
1/4 cup yellow raisins
1/4 cup currants or dark raisins
1/4 cup candied orange peel
1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup dark rum
1 tsp instant espresso coffee
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

3 1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
12 Tbsp lard or butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk

1 egg
pinch salt
confectioners' sugar

Stem the figs and quarter them. Place in a bowl and cover with
boiling water; steep 10 minutes. Drain and chop coarsely in the
food processor. Combine with remaining ingredients. To prepare in
advance, cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep at a cool room
temperature or in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and stir to
mix. Rub in the lard or butter finely, leaving the mixture powdery.

Beat the eggs and milk to combine in a small bowl and stir into
the flour mixture to form a dough. Turn the dough out on a lightly
floured surface and knead lightly a few times. Wrap the dough in
plastic and chill. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each
into a cylinder about 12 inches long. Flour the surface and the
dough lightly and roll it into a rectangle about 14 inches long
and 3 inches wide. Place a line of the filling down the center of
each rectangle, using 1/12 of the filling for each piece of dough.
Bring up the dough around the filling and pinch to seal. Turn the
filled sausage of dough over so that the seam is on the bottom and
cut it into 3 1/2- to 4-inch lengths. Using a sharp paring knife
or single-edge razor blade, make a series of diagonal slashes in
the top of each little sausage. Pull and twist gently, holding the
sausage at each end to open the slashes. Transfer the Cucidati as
they are formed to paper- lined cookie sheets, curving them into
wide horseshoe shapes. Make an egg wash by beating the egg and salt
together with a fork until it is loose. Paint each shape with the
egg wash. Bake the Cucidati in a preheated 350F oven about 20
minutes, or until they are a light golden color. Cool, dust with
confectioners' sugar and store the Cucidati in tins, between layers
of wax paper. Makes: 48

The name of these filled pastries is Cucidati, which is Sicilian
for Buccellati, or "little bracelets."

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