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The ‘Nucatoli and Buccelatti recipes that I used to create my little hybrid ‘Nucalatti biscuits are actually rather similar. Both versions use a buttery pastry to envelop a sticky, sweet, and rather decadent filling of dried fruits and crunchy Sicilian nuts with smatterings of cinnamon and a generous sprinkling of orange zest. So, I simply turned my little London kitchen into an honorary region of Sicily for a few hours while I concocted my own locally inspired biscuits with whatever ingredients tickled my fancy. Enjoy at room temperature with a strong espresso, or a cup of tea – if you’re that way inclined.

As always, I urge you to get creative using whatever ingredients are available to you. If you haven’t got any walnuts, simply use pecans or pistachios. And if you don’t like chocolate… yes, that’s right… I know there are some of you out there… you CAN omit the chocolate. So, in my little London flat, while the ever-present rain falls gently on my geranium filled window box, I sit munching away on my little biscuity slice of Sicily heaven, and I invite you to come to Sicily too. Even if it’s only in biscuit form; for now.


Ingredients – Makes about 20 biscuits


  • 2 cups plain all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 110g chilled butter, chopped roughly
  • 1 lrge egg plus an extra yolk (if you like you can use the extra white to glaze biscuits before baking)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest ½ orange
  • 1 tbsp cold water as needed


  • ¾ cup dried figs, stems removed
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 40g dark chocolate – at least 70% (I used 90%)
  • 2 tbsp Marsala wine or brandy
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Zest ½ orange
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup walnuts, lightly toasted and finely chopped
  • ½ cup blanched almonds, lightly toasted and finely chopped
  • For extra zing try adding a tsp chili flakes, or for a little aniseedy goodness try adding 1 tsp fennel seeds. Delicious!



  1. In a medium bowl sift together flour and baking powder, then add sugar and salt. Mix well. Transfer mix to a food processor.
  2. Add chilled butter and pulse until the largest pieces are the size of peas.
  3. Gently whisk eggs with vanilla and add to food processor with orange zest. Pulse until dough comes together. If the dough seems dry or crumbly add a little of the chilled water. If it seems too wet and sticky, simply add more flour, a little at a time.
  4. Divide dough in half and shape each piece into a rectangle. Wrap in clingfilm – or pop in a bowl with a damp cloth over top of bowl – and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours, however this can be left to chill overnight.


  1. In a food processor, pulse together figs, raisins, honey, dark chocolate, marsala or brandy, cinnamon, orange zest, vanilla, and salt until a thick paste forms. Transfer paste to a medium bowl and mix through walnuts and almonds. Measure 2 generous tablespoons of filling onto a piece of clingfilm – or beeswax wrap – and roll into a log about 13cm long. Repeat process with remaining filling until you have 5 logs. Freeze until firm or refrigerate overnight to let the flavours meld.


  1. Working with one rectangle of dough at a time, place on a lightly floured work surface and roll out dough to a 20x14cm rectangle at a scant 1/2 cm thickness. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with remaining dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Cut each rectangle of dough crosswise into five 4cm wide strips. Position one strip of dough on work surface with long sides parallel to edge of work surface. Place one log of filling along one edge of the strip and roll the dough around filling to enclose, overlapping the dough slightly. Roll dough log gently with your hands to seal join. Transfer back to lined baking tray, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius/350 degrees F. Cut logs into 4cm pieces. Using a small sharp knife, make 2 cuts on one side of each piece, cutting no more than halfway through. Shape each piece into a little crescent with the cuts on the outside of the crescent. Transfer back to the lined baking tray and repeat with remaining pieces. Brush with remaining egg white if you wish. Bake for around 20 minutes, or until tops are light golden brown and bottoms are golden.
  4. Allow to cool on wire racks and then transfer to an airtight container. Will keep in fridge for up to a week, or at room temperature for 2 days.

Buon appetito!

All ceramics throughout by Rose Jensen-Holm