Buccellato – Sicilian Christmas wreath
The Sicilian Christmas wreath buccellato is basically a sweet pie, but instead of filling it with fresh fruit, it is filled with blended figs, nuts and spices. It is supposed to be as big as possible for luck, but I couldn’t handle more good fortune than indicated by the measures below. Especially, not with the rather complicated process of getting the cake in shape. Inferior skills also explain the lack of decorations, but it tastes great, and if Christmas came more often I’m sure I’d get the knack of making buccellato as pretty as those served in Sicily.
For the dough
300 g flour
150 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
100 g butter
For the filling
500 g dried figs
50 g almonds
150 g honey
50 ml Marsala
Juice and zest of ½ orange
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 egg white
Start by making the filling. Soak the figs in Marsala and orange juice.
Blend figs with the other ingredients for the filling.
Mix flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and baking powder.
Chop and rub in cold butter until the dough resembles bread crumbs
Use the eggs to collect the dough (it does get a bit sticky).
Roll the dough out into a long flat rectangle between two sheets of baking paper.
Place the filling in the middle of the dough and use the paper to fold the sides over it.
Turn the roll around so that the fold is at the bottom of the cake and join the ends to form a wreath.
Place the wreath on a griddle and baste it with egg white.
Bake the buccellato at 170 C / 340 F for 40 minutes until golden brown.