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 a ocean strait. However these are fervently Calabrian, actually to be precise, more so from Reggio Calabria.
The recipe comes from my dear cousin who loves baking sweets as much as I do. We both love to make fig tartlets, and for this recipe I have only slightly adapted the recipe and also 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 leftover.
Be sure to also 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 loved these cookies, then you must 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.
Enjoy your Christmas with your family and friends, give thanks for God's gift of his Son Jesus, and let's be grateful for our many blessings.
Blessing to you,
Petrali are a traditional Christmas Calabrian sweet filled with figs and almonds topped with chocolate.Print Pin Rate
- 10½ oz (300 grams) figs finely chopped
- 3½ oz (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
- 5¼ oz (150 grams) almonds toasted and finely chopped
- 5¼ oz (150 grams) walnuts toasted and finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3½ oz (100 grams) dark 70% chocolate
- Marsala to moisten
Pasta Frolla ( Pastry)
- 4 cups (500 grams) all purpose plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- 3½ oz (100 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- grated rind of one lemon
- 3 eggs
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.
- Cool and coat the tops with melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with decorations of choice.
- 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.
Nutritional Information 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 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.
Tried this recipe? I'd love to see!Mention @marcellina.in.cucina or tag #marcellinaincucina
THANKS FOR THE GREAT RECIPES.
You're welcome, Mel!
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.
Sounds amazing, Ivy!
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!
So pretty! Merry Christmas!
Not Quite Nigella
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! 😀
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.
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.
♥The Sweet Life♥ (Alessandra)
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!!
Ciao Chow Linda
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.
♥The Sweet Life♥ (Alessandra)
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!!!
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!
♥The Sweet Life♥ (Alessandra)
Ciao! This look delicious! Part of my Italian heritage comes from Calabria too & Sicily.