Friday, February 1, 2008

Cuddureddi Christmas Biscuits (Sicily)

2 3/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
4.5 oz butter, cubed, chilled
1/2 cup milk
1 cup dried figs
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup Sunbeam Sultanas
1 oz good-quality dark chocolate, grated
2 tablespoons honey
1 small lemon, rind finely grated
1 small orange, rind finely grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup pure icing sugar

Place flour, caster sugar and baking powder in a food processor. Process for 30 seconds. Add butter. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add milk and process until dough comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth. Divide in half. Press into two 1/4 inch-thick discs. Wrap in greaseproof paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
Meanwhile, place figs in a bowl. Cover with warm water. Stand for 10 minutes. Drain. Place in a food processor. Process until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Process walnuts and almonds until roughly chopped. Add to figs with sultanas, chocolate, honey, lemon and orange rind, cinnamon and cloves. Mix well.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 flat baking trays with baking paper. Roll out 1 piece of dough between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Cut 2 x 3.5 inch rectangles out of dough. Fill dough and shape biscuits (see related article). Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place on baking trays.
Bake biscuits for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden. Cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

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