Figs Turnover  

Dry Fruits and Nuts Turnover  

(“Ravioli con frutta secca ”) 

(“Cassateddi ‘Nfurnati”) 

 

 Dry Figs 

 

 

The cassateddi are another spin-off of the breast of virgin, the minni of virgin, originally made around March 20, when the spring equinox occurs and the spring season begins; now they are prepared all year around as a snack or as dessert.
Those delicious pastries are filled with ricotta cream; however there are many variations to the original recipe: and in fact in some places, the cassateddi are filled with vanilla or chocolate custard or with preserved fruits.  

Let me add that the savory filling made with the ricotta made in Trapani from sheep’s milk or the particular taste of the cassateddi made in Syracuse where honey is used instead of sugar, are unique. 

 

The dry fruits cassateddi are baked and usually shaped like a turnover; except in the islands of Ustica and Lipari where the cassateddi are formed into a horse shoe or “S” shape and clipped on the top to allow the vapor to escape. In Ustica and Lipari because raisins are produced in large quantities, part of the dry figs are substituted with raisins. 

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In the province of Ragusa the nucatuli are a very similar pastry. The filling is made in a different way, also the dough encloses it on the sides and leaves open the top showing the dry fruits and honey mixture.  

 

This recipe will make 24 baked Cassateddi.  

 

 

Ingredients 

For the Filling 

  • peels of 2 fresh oranges 
  • 1 lb. of dry figs stemmed and cut into 6 to 8 pieces 
  • ½ lb. raisins 
  • ¼ cup  bitter or semisweet  chopped chocolate (optional) 
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves  
  • 1 cup of sugar 
  • red wine to cover ( over a pint) 
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds (use a knife to chop) 
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla 

For the Dough 

  • 2 lb.  Semolina flour 
  • ½ cup granulated sugar or 6 tablespoons of honey 
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil or 4 oz. Crisco or butter 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • ½ cup of Marsala wine or 2 shots of cognac or vodka  
  • small pinch of salt 
  • zest of 1 lemon  
  • water if needed  

Preparation 

The Filling  

To ready the orange peels for the filling, rinse in 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

In a large pot without a cover, at a medium heat place the figs, raisins, almonds, chocolate (optional),  cinnamon, cloves, 1 cup of sugar, orange peels and the red wine to cover the ingredients and cook it, stirring often. Do not cover!
After 20 minutes stir in the vanilla and continue simmering until the wine is absorbed into the filling. It takes about 45 minutes. Mixture should be chunky.
Transfer into a large bowl to cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days until ready to use. 

The Dough
Mix all ingredients to make dough and knead for 4-5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and more consistent of bread or pizza dough. Add some water if the dough is too hard to knead.
Cover and rest dough for 20/30 minutes. 

Prepare some cookie sheets by lightly greasing or cover with parchment paper and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Divide the dough in 4 pieces, and divide each piece into 6 pieces, shape each piece into balls.

 

Baked Cassateddi 

  

The Cassateddi
Roll each piece of dough with a rolling pin to 1/8 inch, giving an elliptical shape.
In the center of each piece, place 1 teaspoon of filling, and pull over the stuffed dough the long way, in the shape of a half moon, press down on the borders, making sure they are properly sealed to avoid the filling from leaking.  Place them in a greased baking sheet.
Using a pair of scissors cut 3 or more slits on top of each cookie so steam can escape and the filling is visible. When you have prepared all the cassatelle proceed with the baking.  

 

The Baking
Egg wash the cassatelle and bake at 375 degrees, until golden color, 10 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with a light dusting of powdered sugar or honey, serve hot or cold.
 

 

 

 

The Cassateddi Ustica and Lipari Style 

Retrieve dough from refrigerator, divide dough in 8 pieces (cut into 4 pieces and each piece in half); work one piece at a time, leaving remaining dough covered with a kitchen rag or plastic wrap.
Dust working surface with flour and place one piece of dough in center; fold and press with the palm of your hands a few times and roll it out into a cylinder shape (like a sausage) 15 inches in length. Than with the help of a rolling pin, flatten the pastry dough into a rectangle 4 to 5 inches wide and about 1/8 of an inch thick. Use a pinwheel cookies cutter to divide in 3 pieces, and go over the edge away with the pinwheel to decorate it. 

Spoon out and place some filling in the center of each piece, leaving clear ¼ inch on each side.  

 

Lift the side facing you, over the top of the filling, moisten the other side with water and roll over to completely enclose the fig mixture. 

Gently place the cassatedda into baking cookie sheet with the sealed part on the top and shape into a horse shoe or “S” and slit a few cuts on the top of each cookie to allow the vapor to escape. 

 

If pastry dough is too fragile spread it on parchment paper, so it will be easer to handle. 

 

The Baking
Bake at 375 degrees, until golden color, 20 to 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with a light dusting of powdered sugar and serve hot or cold.