The buccellato is a sweet pastry containing a rich filling of pumpkin jam, almonds, walnuts, candied fruit, honey, raisins and chocolate, flavoured with grated orange zest and cinnamon. The key ingredient of this stuffing is dried figs, that even today can be seen in the Sicilian countryside during the summer, skewered on canes and left in the sun to dry for the preparation of winter confectionery. The cool has ancient origins and probably dates back to the Roman panificatus, reflected in the name, which derives from the Latin buccella, meaning a small bite. The most common shape is round like a doughnut, with decorative cuts that allow glimpses of the delicious stuffing, but smaller bite-sized buccellatini are also made.
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For the dough:
500 g (18 oz) flour
275 g (10 oz) butter
175 g (1 cup) sugar
2 tbsps Marsala
1 tsp salt
grated zest of 1 orange
For the filling:
250 g (9 oz) dried figs
80 g (3 oz) pumpkin jam
100 g (3½ oz) toasted almonds
100 g (3½ oz) walnut kernels
25 g (1 oz) pistachios
25 g (1 oz) plain chocolate
80 ml (3 tbsps) Marsala
Begin with the dough: make a well of flour, pour in all the ingredients and work first with a fork and then by hand. Keep aside a little milk and use as needed, working the dough until it is compact and smooth. Place in the refrigerator.
Soak the figs in hot water, drain, chop finely with a knife and toast on a low heat together with the jam and honey. Remove the mixture from the heat, add the other ingredients along with the dried fruit and coarsely chopped chocolate; mix well.
Roll the dough into a rectangle with a rolling pin, place the filling, which should be compact, in the centre, wet one side of the rectangle with beaten egg and close the dough around the filling, forming a bundle. Pierce the buccellato with a crimping tool or the prongs of a fork, brush with beaten egg and bake at 180 °C (355 °F) until golden brown.
Leave the buccellato to cool, then glaze with unflavoured gelatin and garnish with candied fruit or sugar sparkles.
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