The “sweet Christmas” from the Abruzzo region is not made up of “parrozzo” only, but also of caggionetti, in dialect “li caggntt”, fried stuffed dumplings that have an appearance reminiscent of ravioli, inevitable at the end of the meal on any self-respecting table, an authentic traditional Christmas “cookie” must.
The variants present in the territory are different and stand out especially for the filling: you go from the ragnata-based (grape jam), also used for the preparation of stuffed tarallucci (celli ripieni), delicate honey, and almonds, among several types of chickpeas.
But let’s get to the recipe. Shown with both the chickpeas topping and with honey and almonds.
– 3 eggs
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup Evo oil
– 1/2 cup dry white wine
– 6 cups “00” type flour
– 1 packet of vanilla
For the filling of honey and almonds:
– 3 cups almonds
– 2-3 tablespoons Honey
Boil the almonds, skin them, and then roasted in the oven. Once read, add the honey (previously melted in a double boiler) and mix everything. Let the mixture rest for at least 24 hours.
For the chickpeas filling:
– 5 cups chickpeas
– 3 tablespoon cocoa
– 1 tablespoon honey
– 1-2 teaspoons cooked grape must
– 1 grated orange peel
– a pinch of cinnamon
Soak the chickpeas (24 hours), then cook until soft, then puree and place the mixture in a bowl. Add cocoa, honey, cooked grape must, grated orange peel and cinnamon. Mix and let stand for 24 hours.
Put the dough on a work surface. Pour in the flour and add in succession sugar, eggs, oil, wine and vanilla.
Knead the dough well, and once ready let it stand for about 15 minutes.
Then work the dough several times (not too thin) with a pasta maker.
Cut into strips 4-5 cm wide and 15 cm long.
Place the filling on each strip and close the strip on itself.
Apply slight pressure on the dough with your finger around the filling to let the air out inside. With the help of a pastry wheel, cut to get crescent-shaped dumplings.
At this point fry the “caggionetti” in plenty of hot oil, and when they golden drain and place them on absorbent paper to dry, then dust with icing sugar.
For caggionetti stuffed with chickpeas, add simple white sugar immediately after they are drained to make it adhere to the surface.
Just ready to eat!
Translated by Alan Glenn Embree
[Credits | Photography: Carmelita Cianci]