Home » Holiday Recipes » Petrali

Petrali

Petrali are a traditional Christmas Calabrian sweet filled with figs and almonds. This may sound almost Sicilian, and in fact, the two areas are separated only by an ocean strait. However, these are fervently Calabrian, actually to be precise, more so from Reggio Calabria.
Plate of Petrali - Calabrian Fig Cookies chocolate icing
 The recipe comes from my dear cousin, who loves baking sweets as much as I do. We both love to make fig tartlets, and I have only slightly adapted the recipe and halved it. They are wonderful with a thin coating of dark chocolate, but they can also be icing with glace icing. With this recipe, I made about 60 petrali with some filling left over.
Be sure also to try my delicious Pastiera Napoletana, a classic Italian Easter recipe.
Firstly, you must prepare the filling a few days before hand. This is the most delicious fruit mince I have ever tasted. I eat it by the spoon in an uncontrollable fashion.
If you love these cookies, try my Lemon Biscotti, Italian Knot Cookies, or my S Cookies!
 I dedicate this post to my beautiful Calabrian relatives whom I can’t be with but think of often and this Christmas I am with you in spirit.

Plate of Petrali - Calabrian Fig Cookies with chocolate icing cut in half

Plate of Petrali - Calabrian Fig Cookies chocolate icing

Petrali Recipe

Petrali are a traditional Christmas Calabrian sweet filled with figs and almonds topped with chocolate.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Review
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings:60 cookies
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

Filling

  • 10½ ounces (300 grams) figs finely chopped
  • ounces (100 grams) golden raisins or sultanas
  • 1 cup vin cotto or reduced wine - refer to notes
  • ½ cup strong black coffee
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ounces (150 grams) almonds toasted and finely chopped
  • ounces (150 grams) walnuts toasted and finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Marsala to moisten

Pasta Frolla ( Pastry)

  • 4 cups (500 grams) all purpose plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • ounces (100 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200 grams) white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • grated rind of one lemon
  • 3 eggs

For Decorating

  • oz (100 grams) dark 70% chocolate

Instructions

To make filling

  • Combine in a saucepan figs, sultanas, reduced wine, coffee and sugar. Heat gently and stir to combine and allow the fruits to plump and absorb the liquid. Cool. Add the remaining ingredients, adding Marsala if needed. Store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours adding more Marsala if needed. Taste and add more sugar also if needed.

To make cookies

  • Heat oven to 350ºF/180ºC and baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  • In the food processor place flour, raising powder, salt and butter. Pulse until crumbly. Adds white sugar. Pulse to mix. Add vanilla extract, lemon rind and eggs. Pulse to combine. I needed a dash of sweet sherry to bring it all together but that might have just been the weather. Only add a drop of milk or sweet sherry if you need it.
  • Roll the dough out to about 5mm thickness and cut circle of about 6 or 7 cm in diameter. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the rounds, dampen the edges with water and fold to close. Place the semi circles on prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven until golden about 12-15 mins.
  • Remove from the baking sheets and cool on amwire rack.

To Decorate

  • Melt the chocolate in short bursts in the microwave or in a small bowl over a saucepan on barely simmering water.
  • Coat the tops with melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with decorations of choice.

Notes

  •  I can't buy vin cotto so my cousin told me what she does. First take a one litre bottle of white wine, an apple, a pear, an orange, 50g sugar and a cinnamon stick. Put the whole lot (fruit is left whole) in a saucepan and simmer  until reduced to about 250ml.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

Similar Posts

5 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




21 Comments

  1. Currently making the vin cotto 🤞🏼,,, I’m reading the recipe and when it states add the rest of ingredients I question if the 100gr chocolate is to be added along with the nuts or is this for decorating after baked? Please help. I’m excited to make them and want to do it right!

      1. Thank you so much! Fingers crossed they turn out! I’m trying different Italy region cookies as a platter for my mom who is from Ceprano, Frosinone!

        1. What a thoughful gift for your mom! As you’ve probably read, this is my cousin’s recipe. It’s rather loose and adaptable to what you prefer. When I first made them I couldn’t source the vin cotto which is why she explained to me how to make it. These are delicious!

  2. Oh my gosh I am so excited to see this recipe. Our family is from Reggio and we make these every Christmas. Can’t wait to compare recipes. Thank you for sharing our wonderful tradition!

  3. Hey Marcellina, We have been making a similar “mince pies” – got the recipe from my Italian friend’s mum who is from Calabria. She uses oil in the pastry and walnuts raisins and figs in the ‘mince’. Our family has changed it a little – we include all types of dried fruit to the equivalent of the weight of thrraisins and figs. And use Vincotto. I cannot shape the ‘bear claw’ pastry but they are just as delicious. Our family loves them and we have to make two batches – 100s and 100s!!! Can’t walk past them without having one. Any time is ‘mince pie’ time leading up to Christmas and after, upto New year’s and beyond. Thank you for your recipe. Will give it a try too.

  4. This is just scrumptious – I would have thought Sicilian but I am exploring more of Calbria and of course you are right. What delights you have here!

  5. These look absolutely delicious (I love pasta frolla) and thankyou so much for the recipe for vin cotto! That will definitely come in handy. I wish you a very Merry Christmas! 😀

    1. Thank you for the post. We try to keep these traditions from my childhood alive. My sister made petrali this year but couldn’t find a spelling other than cuccidati. Knowing my father was Calabrese I searched Calabrese fig cookies and your post not only gave us the spelling but also stated the petrali come from Reggio his home town.

      1. Hi Joe! So glad I could help. I wonder if the recipe your sister used is similar. This one is as you know from my cousin in Calabria but I’d be interested to know if you also have a family recipe.

      2. This recipe is authentic. Still have my Nonna’s hand written recipe for petrali. A Christmas treat!!

        1. Maria, I’m thrilled that you found my recipe. This is my cousin’s recipe. My mother was from Reggio and I still have a zia living there and several cousins and their families. Thank you for your lovely comment. I hope you make these and enjoy them as much as we do!

  6. I am sorry you had a hard time this year too, I wish you the best next year, I hope you have a better year!!

  7. I've never heard of these and my father's family is Calabrian. I think I will add these to my Christmas cookie baking next year.

  8. I think I wished you a Merry Christmas on your other post, but I don't remember if I did or not, I wished so many friends today it's hard to keep track lol. Buon Natale!!!

  9. Delicious!!! So beautiful and yummy!!!I'm giving you a lovely blog award! If you accept it, take a look at my blog and take it!Merry Christmas for you and your family!

  10. Ciao! This look delicious! Part of my Italian heritage comes from Calabria too & Sicily.