Cuccidati are Italian cookies made with a short-crust pastry dough and filled with an incredible fig, fruit, and nut filling.  Topped with a simple glaze and nonpareils, these cookies are a must during the holidays!

Cuccidati cookies in pink plate.


Editor’s Note: Originally published on December 3, 2022. Updated with expanded information.

Cuccidati, also known as buccellati, are wonderful Italian fig cookies that are popular at Christmastime.

Loaded with a filling of figs, dates, nuts, orange peel, chocolate, cinnamon, clove, and Marsala wine, these cookies taste like Christmas!

While the process may seem involved, they are actually very easy to make; the pasta frolla pastry dough is simple to make as are the fig filling and glaze.

But if you’ve got any doubts, fear not because our step-by-step instructions walk you through the entire process!

Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Overhead shot of ingredients for the cuccidati pastry dough.
Ingredients for the pastry dough (pasta frolla).
Overhead shot of ingredients for the cuccidati fig filling.
Ingredients for the fig filling.
  • Flour. All-purpose flour is used to make the pasta frolla.
  • Granulated sugar. For sweetness and texture in the pastry dough.
  • Baking powder. For rise.
  • Butter. Unsalted, cold, and cubed butter for the dough.
  • Eggs. 2 large eggs at room temperature.
  • Orange zest. For the pasta frolla; lemon can also be used.
  • Figs. Dried figs are the predominant ingredient for the filling.
  • Dates and raisins. These dried fruit contribute sweetness and texture.
  • Candied orange peel. These give great flavor to the cuccidati filling.
  • Nuts. We use a combination of unsalted pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts, but use any nuts you’d like.
  • Apricot preserves. This ingredient provides moisture but also contributes flavor.
  • Marsala wine. For authentic Italian flavor. You can also use rum or whisky if you’d like.
  • Chocolate. We used dark chocolate, but use any chocolate you’d like.
  • Cinnamon and cloves. For great Christmastime flavor!

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Step-by-step process for cuccidati

Note: We’ve broken the process out into separate steps (below) with separate ingredient photos (above) for the pasta frolla (short-crust pastry dough) and the fig filling.

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

First, make the pastry dough

  1. To the bowl of a food processor, add 4 cups (500g) of all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup (135g) of granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt, and 2 teaspoons of orange or lemon zest, and pulse to mix the ingredients.  Add 1 cup (226g) of cold and cubed unsalted butter and pulse again until you have small, coarse pieces. (Photo #1)
  2. Add 2 large eggs and a 1/4 cup (57g) of whole milk and pulse just a few times until the dough is formed. (Photo #2)
Cuccidati pastry dough recipe process shot collage showing butter and flour in food processor, hands kneading dough and two dough balls.
  1. Remove the dough from the food processor and place it on a floured work surface.  Flour your hands and knead for just a few seconds until the dough forms a ball. (Photo #3)
  2. Cut the dough in half to form two smaller balls and wrap each one in plastic.  Place the balls in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using. (Photo #4)

Next, make the fig filling

  1. Place 2 1/2 cups (355g) of dried figs in a bowl and fill the bowl with enough hot water to cover them.  Do the same for 2/3 cup (75g) of raisins and allow both to soak for 30 minutes. (Photo #1)
  2. While the figs and raisins are soaking, add a 1/4 cup (35g) of unsalted shelled pistachios, 1/4 cup (35g) hazelnuts, 1/4 cup (35g) almonds, and 1/4 cup (35g) walnuts to a food processor.  Add 2 ounces (55g) of dark chocolate, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and process until coarsely ground.  Then move it to a larger bowl and set aside. (Photo #2)
Process shot collage for making the cuccidati filling in food processor.
  1. After 30 minutes of soaking, drain and place the figs and raisins on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to dry.  Remove the stems from the figs and slice them into quarters, then add them along with the raisins and 1 cup (140g) of pitted dried dates to the bowl of a food processor and process until they are finely chopped.  Add 1/3 cup (35g) of candied orange or lemon peel, 1/3 cup (70g) of apricot preserves, and 1/4 cup (55g) of marsala wine to the fig mixture and process until a paste is formed. (Photo #3)
  2. Add the fig paste to the bowl with the nut mixture and mix to incorporate. (Photo #4)

Finally, assemble, bake, and make the glaze

  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and wait 20 minutes for it to come to room temperature.  Preheat your oven to 350f and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out one of the dough balls to 1/4 inch thick and form a rectangle roughly 18″ long by 5″ wide.  Use a pastry cutter to trim the edges to form straight edges. (Photo #1)
Cuccidati cookie recipe process shot collage group showing the dough rolled out on a cutting board with the log shaped filling on top of the dough.
  1. Spread the fig and nut filling (a log shape sized layer) and use your hands to shape it into a log that’s equal in length to the dough rectangle. (Photo #2)
  2. Begin to wrap the dough around the log using your fingers to make sure it’s being rolled evenly. (Photo #3)
Recipe process shot collage group number two showing hands rolling dough around filling and hands trimming dough with pastry cutter.
  1. Use a pastry cutter to trim any excess off the ends, then finish rolling the dough to complete the log.  Dip your finger in water and run it along the edge of the dough to create a seal on the seam.  Note: Save the dough scraps for the next batch.  Depending on how long you roll the dough and how much filling you use, you should be able to roll out approximately 3 18×5-inch strips of dough. (Photo #4)
  2. Place the log seam side down and cut it into 1 to 2-inch-long pieces using the pastry cutter or a very sharp knife.  Place the cookies on a baking sheet and repeat the process for the remaining dough and fig filling. Bake the cookies for 20-23 minutes, or until lightly golden on the bottom.  Move the cuccidati to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before decorating with the icing and sprinkles. (Photo #5)
Recipe process shot collage group showing sliced cuccidati on baking sheet and hands making glaze in bowl.
  1. Combine 2 cups (240g) of confectioner’s sugar and 5 tablespoons (75g) of heavy cream in a bowl and whisk until smooth.  You may need to add a little more heavy cream (or water) a little at a time if the mixture is too thick.  You want the mixture to not be so thick that it doesn’t spread, but not runny.  You should be able to dip the cuccidati into the glaze and not have it run down the sides. (Photo #6)
  2. Dip each cuccidati into the glaze and top with sprinkles while the glaze is still wet. (Photo #7)
Recipe process shot collage group showing hands dipping cuccidati into glaze and finished cuccidati on wire rack with glaze and nonpareils.
  1. Allow the cuccidati glaze to dry completely before serving or storing.  The size of your cuccidati is up to you.  We included this image so you can see that some are larger than others.  This is entirely a personal preference. (Photo #8)
Cuccidati on wire rack.

Top tips

  • The dough. Pasta frolla, or short-crust pastry dough, needs time in the fridge so make sure you do not skip the chilling step. The dough needs at least an hour but can sit for 1-2 days. When you remove it from the fridge, give it a good 15-20 minutes before working with it.
  • Filling. The main component of the filling are the dried figs. I would not recommend changing that, but you have more leeway with the other ingredients. If you want to use a different combination of nuts, feel free to do so. Taste-test the filling and if you’d like to make adjustments or add more chocolate, or other ingredient, go for it.
  • Glaze. Traditional cuccidati are glazed with a mixture of egg white and confectioner’s sugar, however, we’ve taken a simpler approach here and combined powdered sugar with heavy cream. Start by mixing 5 tablespoons of the cream with 2 cups of sugar and adjust as needed until the desired consistency is achieved.
  • Use bench flour. It’s really helpful to flour your surfaces (the rolling pin too!) before working with the dough. This will help prevent sticking. If the dough sticks, use a pastry cutter or bench scraper that’s also been floured to slide beneath the dough and loosen it from the cutting board.
Overhead shot of cuccidati cookies in pink plate on walnut cutting board.

Cookies are an important part of any holiday, and Christmas is no exception!  Here are some of our favorite cookies to make around Christmastime, in addition to the cuccidati.

  • Pignoli cookies – soft and chewy almond-flavored cookies studded with pignoli nuts.
  • Pizelle – thin waffle-like cookies flavored with anise and dusted with powdered sugar.
  • S cookies – lemon flavored s-shaped cookies.
  • Lemon ricotta cookies – light and airy lemon cookies with a simple glaze.
  • Reginelle cookies – biscuit style cookies topped with sesame seeds.

If you’ve enjoyed this Cuccidati Recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.

We strive to satisfy a number of learning styles.  If you are someone who prefers to learn by watching, you can find most of our recipes on YouTube and our Facebook Page.

Cuccidati

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 45 minutes
Resting time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 36 cookies
Cuccidati are Italian fig cookies made with a simple pasta frolla, nut, fig, and fruit filling, and topped with a simple glaze. These cookies are perfect for Christmas!

Ingredients 

For the pasta frolla

  • 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature

For the filling

  • 2 1/2 cups (355g) dried figs
  • 1 cup(140g) dried dates
  • 2/3 cup(75g) raisins
  • 1/3 cup(35g) candied orange peel
  • 1/4 cup(35g) pistachios shelled and unsalted
  • 1/4 cup(35g) hazlenuts
  • 1/4 cup(35g) almonds
  • 1/4 cup(35g) walnuts
  • 1/3 cup(70g) apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup(55g) Marsala wine
  • 2 ounces(55g) dark chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the icing

  • 2 cups(240g) confectioner's sugar sifted
  • 5-7 tablespoons (75g) heavy cream may need more to achieve desired consistency
  • nonpareil sprinkles for decorating

Instructions 

For the pastry dough (pasta frolla)

  • Add the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and lemon zest to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix the ingredients. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse again until you have small, coarse pieces.
  • Add the eggs and milk and pulse just a few times until the dough is formed.
  • Place the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for a few seconds only; just enough until the dough is together in a ball.
  • But the dough ball in half, wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour before using. The dough can be made 1-2 days ahead of time.

For the filling

  • Soak the dried figs and raisins in a bowl with warm water and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • While the figs and raisins are sitting in the water, add the nuts, dark chocolate, cinnamon, and cloves to a food processor and process until coarsely ground, then move to a large bowl and set aside.
  • After 30 minutes, drain and place the figs and raisins on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to dry.
  • Remove the stems from the figs and slice them into quarters, then add them along with the dates and raisins to the bowl of a food processor and process until they are finely chopped.
  • Add the candied orange peel, Marsala wine, and apricot preserves and process until a paste is formed.
  • Add the fig paste to the nut mixture and mix to incorporate.

Assemble and bake

  • Preheat your oven to 350f and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and wait 20 minutes for it to come to room temperature.
  • Cut off a piece of dough and roll it out on a floured surface to approximately 1/4" thick, 18" long, and 5" wide rectangle. Use a pastry cutter or sharp knife to remove the excess edges of the dough to form a straight rectangle.
  • Take approximately half the fig and nut filling and roll it into a log that's equal in length to the dough rectangle and roll the dough around the log. You can use a bit of water on your finger to create a seal on the seam.
  • Place the log seam side down and cut it into 1-2 inch pieces using a pastry cutter or very sharp knife. Place the cookies on a baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  • Bake the cookies for 20-23 minutes, or until lightly golden on the bottom. Move the cuccidati to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before decorating with the icing and sprinkles.

Icing and decorating

  • In a medium-sized bowl combine the heavy cream and confectioner's sugar and whisk until glossy. If the mixture is too thick to work with, add more heavy cream (or water) a little at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. It should be thick enough to dip the cookie into but not runny.
  • Dip the tops of the cuccidati into the icing and top with nonpareils while the icing is still wet.
  • Place the cookies on a baking sheet and allow the icing to set completely before serving or storing.

Notes

  • The pasta frolla can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. 
  • Cuccidati can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • This recipe was written for a conventional oven.  For convection ovens, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees and begin checking for doneness at the 75% mark.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.8g | Protein: 3.4g | Fat: 8.3g | Saturated Fat: 4.5g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 17.5g | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!Check us out on Instagram at @sipandfeast or tag #sipandfeast!

This recipe was originally published on December 3, 2022. It was completely updated on December 21, 2023.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe. When I made these with my grandmother old school style, we soaked the figs and raisins as you did but then put them through her old well cleaned, hand cranked, meat grinder. A labor of love for sure! Precious memories for me forever.

  2. 5 stars
    Fabulous cookie. Your recipe was eady to follow, and understand. I wanted to make a Christmas cookie that was different from the norm. I checked out several versions of Sicilian Fig cookie. Yours has a variety of ingredients making a more complex and delicious profile. Will definitely be making this recipe a part of my Christmas cookie repertoire for future too. Thank you so much. I am subscribed to your site and the recipes you post are wonderful.

    1. Hi Dorothy, these are traditionally make with the glaze and nonpareils. If you want to omit the glaze, you can do an egg wash with egg yolks and water, similar to the one Jim does in the S cookie recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe, and easy to follow instructions. I will be finishing up the recipe tomorrow. Although many ingredients are required for the filling I tasted it. It is phenomenal 👏. These are going to be mailed ro family & friends as a Christmas gift. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I made the filling exactly as your recipe indicates. I made my own candied orange peel to use. The combination of the various nuts, orange peel, marsala wine and the dark chocolate makes for a complex, Deli flavor profile. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  4. Hello,
    I was wondering could I use fig spread to replace the the cooked figs ? I would mix all the ingredients nuts,raisins, dates and chocolate chips.

    1. Hi there, yes, you can definitely omit the chocolate. As far as replacing it, I don’t really think you need to. If anything, increase the amount of nuts or dates.

  5. 5 stars
    These are truly a labor of love. My Aunt Rose was the only one in our family who made these at Christmas time. She didn’t have a food processor back then so I guess maybe she used a meat grinder to make the filling. She shaped them like horns rather then squares. I didn’t care for them when I was a kid, but would probably love them now. Can you mail me a few? Thanks for the sweet memories and keeping the tradition alive.

    1. Hi Chuck, thanks for the comment and the story about your aunt. These do require work but they’re worth it, especially if it’s to keep memories going.

      1. Hi Sandy, yes, you can omit the marsala wine and you can make the crust and the filling without a food processor, however, it will be easier to make it with.