Cuddura Cull’ova (Sicilian Easter biscuits)

These playful Sicilian biscuits are traditionally given on Good Friday for good luck. The dough is also incredibly forgiving – if you stuff up rolling the shapes the first-time round, just re-roll.
Two twisted pastries with big blue candied eggs in the centre. The pastries look as though they are a nest for the egg.

Photo: Ben Dearnley

Ben Dearnley
1H 20M

These humble Sicilian pastries were traditionally made by peasants for Italian Easter celebrations and lack the extravagant dried fruits, nuts and other sweets that were typical of desserts for nobility. In Palermo, the pastries tended to take the shape of animals, while in the Catania region they resembled doves. We have take inspiration from simple south-eastern Sicily and fashioned our pastries into braided baskets, cradling the egg in the centre.


Almond glaze


1.For dough, combine flour, sugar, yeast, seeds and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add lard, eggs and almond extract and knead to bring dough together. It will not be smooth (2 minutes). Cover in plastic wrap and rest at room temperature or in fridge for 2 hours. Rest dough in fridge before rolling out. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before using.
2.Meanwhile, for dyed eggs, bring a saucepan of water to a gentle boil in a large saucepan. Add eggs and simmer until hard-boiled (9 minutes); drain. Combine 2 litres boiling water and vinegar in a bowl, add colouring and mix in. Add eggs, ensuring they are all submerged, and leave for 5 minutes or longer (up to 1 hour, otherwise the vinegar begins to corrode the shells). Transfer to a wire rack to dry.
3.Preheat oven to 180˚C. Divide dough into 10 balls (about 100gm each), then divide each ball into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a 1 cm-thick rope; trim so they are same length. Lay ropes, side by side, pinch top together and braid. Join two ends together to form a circle and pinch to seal. Place on an oven tray; repeat with remaining dough. Press an egg into centre of each crown (do this step at end to minimise dye bleeding into biscuits), brush lightly with extra beaten egg and bake until golden and cooked through (about 20 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
4.For almond glaze, combine icing sugar, almond extract and enough lemon juice to form a runny glaze. Coat biscuits in glaze, place on a wire rack over an oven tray and leave for glaze to harden. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Before rolling the dough, press it with a finger, if it springs back it requires further resting.


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