|Mac N Cheese »|
Caggionetti are a fried Christmas cookie from the Abruzzo region of Italy. My paternal Grandmother, Leni, made them every year. Unfortunately, no one in the family ever got her recipe. They look like a fried ravioli, filled with a chestnut paste and dusted with sugar and spices. I've been making them the past few years, playing with ingredients, and I've finally have a recipe that I wish to share. This makes between 50 & 60 cookies
The dough is made with olive oil, white wine and flour. If you don't have a pasta machine to roll out thin, flat sheets of dough, won ton wrappers may be substituted.
4 to 4 & 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil - the fruitier the better
Mound the flour up on a [marble if you have it] pastry board, make a well in the center, add the olive oil, begin kneading the oil into the flour and add the white wine until you have a very stiff dough, similar to a pasta dough. Run it through your pasta machine at least twice until it is nice and thin.
Use a ravioli cutter, round cookie cutter or a glass to make 2 & 1/2 inch round circles of dough.
My grandmother made a filling of chestnut, cocoa, raisins, figs and hazelnuts. I've seen recipes using citron, walnuts, almonds, chocolate, or cicci instead of some or all of those ingredients, and ones with no cocoa or chocolate.
12 ounces of roasted chestnuts
1/4 cup of raisins soaked in the wine must before boiling or tawny port
1 pint of Grape or Wine must boiled down to about two ounces of syrup, if you can find it, or 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar and/or honey plus tawny port
1 cup of hazelnut meal
6 donatto figs done Melissese style with the tough stem removed, quartered length-wise and chopped coarsely
1/4 cup of fine quality, unsweetened cocoa
a few grinds of allspice
Mix all of these ingredients together.
Using two spoons, take a chestnut sized ball of the filling, and make it egg shaped by scraping it between the spoons, then place in the center of a dough circle. Rub water around the outside edge of the dough. Pull the dough up around the filling, press together at the watered edge, and then crimp with a fork, turn it over, and crimp the other side.
Heat a cast iron pan, add about a quarter-inch of olive oil. When hot, add enough cookies to the oil to fill the pan. Turn every two minutes until the dough is golden brown [usually about 8 minutes total]. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then dust with sugar and spice [I used nutmeg, but cinnamon, clove, allspice, cardamom, or any combination works too].
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