Do you know the cuccìa of Santa Lucia ? In addition to the month of Christmas, December sees the celebration of the saint to whom this original Sicilian recipe is dedicated. It is an extremely delicious dessert with a creamy consistency and unusual ingredients that is traditionally prepared on the island on December 13th. But what is its history and how does it prepare?
History of the cuccìa of Santa Lucia
Legend has it that the history of Santa Lucia's cuccìa is linked to a miracle performed by the saint. We have traces of it in the Memoirs of St. Lucia, in which Giuseppe Capodieci speaks of a significant fact. In 1763 a great famine hit Sicily. But on January 9, the day on which it was customary, in Syracuse , to exhibit the Simulacrum of Saint Lucia for the commemoration of the 1693 earthquake, during the sermon the preacher hypothesized that the Saint could provide for her people by bringing in a vessel loaded with grain. And so it was: the next day a ship loaded with wheat arrived followed by other boats.
Such an abundance appeared miraculous, above all following the declarations of the owner of one of the ships, who confessed that it was not his intention to enter the port of the city but was forced to due to contrary winds. Not only that: as soon as he docked he realized he had recovered from an eye disease that had been torturing him for some time.
But it is said that a similar episode took place in Palermo in 1646. This is why the two cities are contending for the paternity of the dessert. In any case, from that moment it was decided that every year, on December 13th, only cuccìa and legumes would be eaten.
What is the cuccìa di santa Lucia?
But what exactly is the cuccìa ? It is a typical Sicilian dessert made with boiled wheat , sugar and sheep ricotta in its more traditional version, or even with milk or chocolate cream. It is therefore presented as a creamy dessert which is garnished with candied orange peel, pumpkin, cinnamon and pieces of chocolate , which enhance the candid color of the ricotta. It is one of the sweetest sweets of Saint Lucia .
The original recipe of the Palermitan cuccìa of Santa Lucia
The ingredients to make the original cuccìa are these.
- 400 g of sheep ricotta
- 250 g of soft wheat
- 150 g of sugar
- 50 g of chocolate drops
- 50 g of candied pumpkin
- 50 g of candied orange peel
- cinnamon powder to taste
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- the tip of a baking soda knife
- water to taste
Preparation of the kennel
To prepare the cuccìa you need to cook the wheat and add it to the ricotta cream together with all the candied fruit and chocolate drops. Proceed as described below.
Wheat for Sicilian doghouse
Wheat deserves a separate mention. It must be soaked in water for three days, during which time it must be changed once a day. After this period of time it must be drained and rinsed, then put it to cook in a pan in plenty of water with a pinch of salt and a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. The cooking time is about 3 hours, but using the pressure cooker the times are significantly reduced. Once the wheat is cooked, let it cool in its cooking water, then drain it and keep it in a bowl.
Ricotta cream for Sicilian cuccìa
If the ricotta is fresh, it must be left to drain overnight in the fridge to remove the whey, otherwise it can be left to rest for a few hours until it is dry. Now sift it and mix it with the sugar, orange zest, chocolate chips, candied pumpkin and ground cinnamon.
All variants of the cuccìa
Traditional recipes are often subject to variations that derive from different needs and tastes. Of the cuccìa, in fact, there are different ones, all delicious, even the salty one. Here they are in detail.
Sicilian cuccìa with cooked wine
This is the Trapani variant. Here the cuccìa is made from boiled wheat with chickpeas and broad beans and seasoned with cooked must , a thick and sweet liquid obtained from the reduction of grapes.
Sicilian cuccìa with chocolate
Appetizing variant, it is prepared by adding a cream obtained with milk, corn starch, bitter cocoa powder and dark chocolate with cooked wheat. Which is irresistibly creamy, a mouth-watering spoon dessert.
Cuccìa with milk cream
Not everyone likes desserts with ricotta cheese , the cuccìa with milk cream is designed for them, similar to the previous one but without the addition of chocolate. It is made with a white cream without eggs typical of Sicilian pastry.
Salted Sicilian cuccìa
As anticipated, there is also a savory version of the cuccìa, which is prepared in large quantities and also given as gifts to neighbours. It looks like a cooked wheat soup with boiled chickpeas and seasoned with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil . It tastes hot.
Sicilian cuccìa with Thermomix
As well as traditionally, the cuccìa can be prepared with the Thermomix . There are many who have it at home, so why not make the most of it? Simply put the sugar in the mixing bowl and pulverize it for 20 seconds at turbo speed, then add the ricotta and cinnamon and continue for 30 seconds at speed 2. The cream is ready, add the cooked wheat and the rest of the ingredients: 30 seconds at speed 2 and then 10 seconds speed 3. Here is the sweet of Santa Lucia , ready for tasting.