If you’re spending the Christmas season on a culinary tour of Abruzzo, Italy — a region known for its beautiful landscapes — chances are you’ll get a taste of caggionetti abruzzesi, a fried dessert. Once traditional Abruzzo Christmas cookies only served on Christmas Eve, they are now a tradition that lasts throughout November and December. The filling of the these Italian Christmas desserts vary depending on where you are in Abruzzo, but it will often include a bit of chocolate, or cacao, as well as nuts and honey. This particular recipe for caggionetti abruzzesi comes from the kitchen of one of our chefs our Culinary Quest in Vasto culinary tour of Abruzzo.
Discover more Italian Christmas desserts with a trip to the stunning region of Abruzzo in the central part of Italy.
Italian Caggionetti Recipe
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Cook method: Fry
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs) of chickpeas
- 100 grams bitter cacao
- 2 tbs sugar
- 250 grams (about 8.9 oz) honey
- 1 cup mosto cotto (cooked wine; in Abruzzo, this involves boiling 1 liter of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine with 600 grams of sugar until it’s caramelized)
- 300 grams (about 10.5 oz) almonds
- 300 grams (about 10.5 oz) walnuts
- 1 orange peel
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Ingredients for the Dough:
- 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs) cake flour (or fine wheat flour)
- 1 egg
- 1 glass (5 oz) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 glass (5 oz) white wine
- 2 tbs sugar
- 2 liters (approximately) vegetable oil for frying
1. Start by making the filling. First boil, and then mush, the chickpeas.
2. In a separate saucepan, dissolve the honey along with the sugar and mosto cot to. To this add the cacao. Then add in, and mix, the spices as well as the chickpeas. Lastly, add in the ground almonds and nuts.
3. Mix all of this together well and then remove from the heat. Set aside and allow it to cool.
4. While the filling cools, it’s time to make the dough. Start mounding the flour on a board or table, then make a well in the center.
5. Add the dough ingredients for the dough into the well of the flour.
6. Stir everything together slowly using a fork, and slowly incorporate the flour until you form the dough.
7. Roll the dough into a thin sheet, and then cut the dough sheets into squares.
8. In the center of each dough square, put about a half tablespoon of filling, and then close it like you would a book. Squeeze or press the edges shut as you would with ravioli.
9. Fry the squares in hot vegetable oil, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and enjoy!
Journey to Vasto, on the shores of Abruzzo, to experience a slice of Italian life.
Abruzzo is one of Italy’s most authentic regions, a place of friendly locals and unparalleled beauty. This is the real Italy, full of forests, mountains, cured meats, zesty cheeses, and seasonal produce. Located due east of Rome, Abruzzo boasts magical medieval villages perched atop hills and nestled into valleys, miles of stunning shorline on the Adriatic Sea, and expansive regional parklands.
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By Peg Kern
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