Discovering Sicilian Christmas sweets is a moment of ecstasy for the palate. Sweet and rich in dried fruit, spices and honey they are truly irresistible.
When it comes to Sicilian sweets, the mind begins to wander between cassata and cannoli and the taste buds begin to stir. Sicily is in fact the cradle of a culinary tradition that seems to give its best in desserts. But now that Christmas is upon us, do you know what Sicilian Christmas sweets are? From mostaccioli to buccellato through an infinite number of variations, the common thread seems to be one: the simplicity of flavors.
Typical Sicilian Christmas sweets: a journey into taste
The Christmas holidays start on 13 December, the day in which Saint Lucia is celebrated. The dessert par excellence of this day is Cuccià , a kind of cake made with cooked wheat, sheep’s milk ricotta and sugar decorated with pumpkin, cinnamon and pieces of chocolate. The origin of the dessert is traced back to 13 December 1646, the day when a ship loaded with wheat landed in a Sicilian port, putting an end to a serious famine. The hungry population decided to cook the wheat and consume it immediately instead of waiting for the grinding and, combining it with the other ingredients available, the cuccià was born. It is remembered for being among the Sicilian sweets with dried figs the most appreciated of all.
Another dessert that absolutely cannot be missed is the Sicilian buccellato : a donut made with flour, lemon, raisins, dried and candied fruit, figs and honey . The meaning of the name lends itself to two possible interpretations. The first refers to the term bucca , or mouth, due to the fact that originally the dessert was engraved before cooking so that it was then easier to break and taste. Later, buccellato took the form of a donut and buccellatus means pierced bread.
Also in the nucatoli honey and dried fruit, flavored with orange and cinnamon, cannot be missing. In this case, however, they are filled and sometimes glazed biscuits. As often happens, in fact, there is no single recipe to prepare them and each family has its secrets.
Staying on the subject of biscuits, here are the mostaccioli . Prepared with a mixture of flour and eggs scented with honey and orange peel, they were born in Sicilian convents where they were prepared on the occasion of the most important holidays (be careful, they are different from mostaccioli covered with chocolate ).
But the list could go on and on, citing for example the nougat that left the regional borders to conquer all of Italy; cubaita , a sweet of Arab origin prepared with honey, sugar and dried fruit and orange juice , typical of Modica which is not a drink but a sweet made with oranges cut into strips and cooked with honey, sugar, almonds, walnuts and cinnamon .
In short, if you want to experiment with Sicilian Christmas sweets, there are certainly no shortage of recipes. You just have to decide where to start!
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