Monday, January 2, 2012

A Very Vegan Christmas: Cucidatis

Our journey into childhood memories continued with a pit stop back to the days of Catholic School with the pop tart like treat with the world’s most fun name- the cucidati (seriously I can’t say it without doing a little dance that’s only mildly inappropriate). This fig jam filled pastry was a staple of any good St. Joseph’s altar and yet again proved that vegan cooking can be just as good as regular baking.

Servings: 15-18 depending on how big you roll
Proper corn meal like texture
Time: 90 minutes (inactive for 45)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegan veggie shortening
1/2 large egg substitute (powder that you mix with water)
1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup soy milk + more for icing
Fig Jam (The Fig Galaxy jam at whole foods is good)
1 cup powdered sugar
Colored sprinkles
It'll make a nice soft dough.
We may have cut them large.

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or cut it into small pieces and mash into the flour mixture by hand until it looks like corn meal.
  4. Beat the egg substitute, vanilla and soy milk together in a separate bowl.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the flour in a stand mixer for about 3 minutes until a soft dough forms.
  6. Divide into two pieces and refrigerate in plastic wrap for 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 375.
  8. Roll one piece of dough out at a time to a 12" square on a floured surface.
  9. Cut into 2"x3" rectangles.
  10. Spoon about 2-3 tsp of fig jam into each rectangle.
  11. Carefully fold the edges over to meet in the center and pinch to seal the seam.
  12. Place the cookies on a baking sheet with the seam side down. Leave 2 inches per cookie.
  13. Cut several diagonal slits on top of each with a sharp knife.
  14. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  15. Let cool on a wire rack.
  16. Add soy milk to the powdered sugar until you get a smooth and slightly thick consistency (not runny!).
  17. Ice the top of each cucidati and sprinkle fun colors on top.
  18. Let the icing dry and enjoy.

Jealous of all the exposure Kevin's hands have gotten, Bryan decided to jump in and give hand modeling a try.

There are three key components to the cucidati (it’s just as fun to type as it is to say, and yes I still do a little dance while typing it): the semi-hard pastry shell, the flavor packed moist fig jam and the tooth decay inducing frosting with sprinkles. They reach a zen-like sugar filled harmony unlike anything else to send you to dessert heaven (and they also go great with coffee at breakfast).

Naked without the icing (we'll get to the oddly shaped one in a second).

And it doubles as toothpaste (at least it's better than brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack)
My brother-in-law Bryan took great pride in his folding skills, but he dreamed of a better life, one filled with innumerable pop tarts whenever he so desired. He got his wish as he crafted one mega cucidati to resemble his breakfast dream. Despite our evil internal voices telling us to eat it while he slept, my sister and I used self-restraint (another Christmas miracle!) we didn’t know we had and allowed him to enjoy his masterpiece. I know these will become a staple of my kitchen, but hopefully in a variety that truly showcases the full pop tart oeuvre  (most importantly the s’mores variety).

The start of a dream.

Erika and I got into the Christmas spirit and didn't eat it while he wasn't looking.

A Very Vegan Christmas concludes this week with the Christmas morning brunch of champions featuring beignets and a tofu frittata.

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