Cuccidati: Italian Fig Cookies with Gluten Free Pastry Crust

by Joanne on December 15, 2014

So much for not running. I did manage to take 3 full days off, just doing weights and walking the dogs.  By Saturday, I figured it was worth while “testing the water”.  After getting back from a long walk with the dogs, I hopped on the treadmill for 3 miles.  The knee felt ok. Then it got sore as the day went on.  By bedtime, the pain had subsided.  

Sunday morning, no excruciating pain so I set out the door with Shane.  Starting out was a little painful but once I got to the end of the road, the pain decreased and we ran slowly for 6  1/2 miles.  Once home, I hit the tread mill again and finished for  a total of 10 1/2 miles.  Of course the knee was put on ice immediately and, of course, it hurt like all get out in the hours to follow.  Since I was seeing the orthopedist on Monday, it was worth while getting that body part really angry.  As for running with Zoey, no can do. She pulls too much and I can’t seem to get past a limp with her.

Come Monday, just a walk with the dogs and weights.  A day off running but the pain wasn’t too bad.  After x-rays and a thorough exam the result is nothing surprising:

1.  Runners Knee, known as patellofemoral pain syndrome.  It is usually caused by weakness in the middle quadriceps muscles and tight hamstrings or IT bands.

2. A little arthritis – but nothing that should be bothering me that much …yet.

The prescription:   Cut down on the weekly miles, engage some cross training.  2 Aleve 2 times per day (unless the tummy can’t take it). 

So I’m good to go. I’ll make it to that marathon February 28th, maybe not fast but it’s a training run for Boston.  I fully expect my knee and other body parts to be up to speed by April in Massachusetts.  The challenge of getting in shape for a marathon with out the convenience of running as many miles as usual seems exciting at this point. Come marathon day, I’m sure my nerves will be shot and I’ll wish I had many more miles of faster runs under my belt but at this point, at least I can run.

happy runner

Let’s talk Christmas Cookies!

There are so many recipes for this classic Italian cookie.  For some, it isn’t sweet enough so they add chocolate. For others, the variation of raisins, dates, cherries, candied fruit is different.  The main component however, never changes and that is the dried fig. 

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The filling is a puree of figs and other dried fruits.  For my recipe, I added more raisin paste than any other filling.  I also made a Gluten Free pastry from Bob’s Red Mill GF Pie Crust mix resulting is a very light crust for the filling in this cookie. 

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Makes 5 dozen cookies

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Filling

  • 8 oz dried figs, chopped
  • 6 TBS brandy
  • 8 oz jar honey
  • 8 oz raisins
  • 1 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 1 cup toasted blanched almonds
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch or two of cloves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade

Egg Wash

  • 1 to 2 eggs mixed with 1 tsp water for egg wash.

Pastry

  • 1 package Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix – follow directions on the package. Separate into 2 slabs, wrapped in waxed paper and chill.

Icing

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 TBS milk
  • festive sprinkles (optional)

Put figs in a bowl and pour the brandy over the top.  Allow to soak over night.

In a food processor, add the figs and all other filling ingredients.  Process until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out the pastry dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper.  *You can make cuccidati and shape you like.  I believe a log shape is standard.  I short cut this process and rolled out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick.  Roll out 1 slap of dough and spread the filling mixture over the top. *If you wet a knife with warm water, the filling spreads easily.  Roll out the other slap of dough and place on top of the filling. Cut into shapes.  Brush with egg wash.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Allow to cool then top with icing and sprinkles.

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My favorite Italian cookie.

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What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

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8 Comments

  • At 2014.12.16 08:31, Ali @ Peaches and Football said:

    I’m getting caught back up on your blog Joanne and those cookies look wonderful. I’m a sucker for Swedish cookies (butter cookies rolled in nuts) and the holiday staple: Hershey kiss cookies. Mmm hmmm

    I’ve been rehabbing my knee/leg for a couple of months now and it’s finally starting to get better. For a hardcore runner like you, I’m sure it’s tough to stay still! Hope you feel better really soon!!
    Ali @ Peaches and Football´s last blog post ..9 Ladies DancingMy Profile

    • At 2014.12.16 09:53, Joanne said:

      Thanks for catching up Ali. Hope your knee gets better soon. I can really by sympathetic with that one. Never had a knee issue before. It’s not fun.
      Love the sound of those Swedish cookies!

      • At 2014.12.17 15:42, Choc Chip Uru said:

        These fig cookies look delicious, I am sure they will help with healing your knee nice and fast! Keep strong my friend 😀
        Enjoy the holidays!

        Cheers
        Choc Chip Uru
        Choc Chip Uru´s last blog post ..Virtual Vegan Potluck 2014My Profile

        • At 2014.12.18 22:50, Aaron Alexander said:

          The puree figs puree is just so mouthwatering! I hope your knee will heal before your your Marathon on February.

          http://www.aligntherapy.com/blog/
          Aaron Alexander´s last blog post ..How to Prevent and or Recover from Tennis & Golf ElbowMy Profile

          • At 2014.12.19 08:32, Donna said:

            These are my favorite cookies of all time!!!!!

            • At 2014.12.19 10:31, Joanne said:

              Uru – There HAS to be something healthy in figs. So I’ll eat more of them 🙂

              • At 2014.12.19 10:31, Joanne said:

                Aaron – thank you. Great alignment tips on your blog. Now where’s the one for my knee

                • At 2014.12.19 10:32, Joanne said:

                  Donna – let me know when you’ll be picking some up. 🙂

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