Sfratti, The Italian Eviction Cookie
Courtesy of Alessandra Rovati
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
a big pinch of salt
1/3 cup cold butter or margarine (cold)
2/3 cup marsala or other sweet wine
2/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a big pinch of ground cloves, or nutmeg (optional)
a big pinch of black pepper
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or other nuts
grated zest of one lemon or mix of lemon and orange zest
1 egg yolk
1) In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt; add the margarine or butter and process till crumbly. Add the sweet wine and stir and process till it holds together. Roll the dough into a ball. Divide the dough in 2, cover with plastic war and refrigerate for 2 hours.
2) In the meantime, heat the honey in a heavy saucepan; bring to a boil, add the spices, and simmer until it forms a ribbon when a spoon is lifted (it should take between 5 and 15 minutes).
3) Add the nuts and lemon zest, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Allow to cool off until you can touch it without burning your fingers.
4) On a floured surface, roll the honey filling into 6 long ropes, working quickly before it hardens. Now divide the dough into 6 rectangles.
5) Roll out each piece on a floured surface into a long rectangle (about 4”x12” or even longer) and lay a piece of filling along the center of each piece. Roll up the dough around the filling (kind of like a Moroccan cigar). Now cut the long cylinders into shorter cookies. I’ve seen them cut shorter (about 1 inch) but I make them longer, like a finger.
6) Place the cookies on a greased baking sheet (or lined with parchment) and brush them with the egg, mixed with a couple teaspoons of water. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden, in a pre-heated 375 F oven.