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Originated from: Sannicandro di Bari, Puglia
Occasion: Christmas party
Contributed by: Sabina Antonacci & Isabella Sacchetti

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Quantity: 10-12people (xmas party)


1kg flour (aprox. 7 cups)

1 egg

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 to 2 cups white wine

GARNISH: powdered cinnamon &
powdered cloves

IMP.TOOL: serrated wheel pastry
cutter (zig zaged)


3 liters of dry red wine
(about 3 bottles or aprox. 12 cups)

4 strips of orange peels or of
(mandarine or tangerine)


3 dozen dried figs

water (as much as needed)




Mix all ingredients for the dough together, working it until firm but smooth, soft & a little sticky. If the dough is too firm, add a little warm water, if its too sticky add a little more flour. Use your hands to knead the dough on a floured surface.

Otherwise you can even use a food processor. When the dough rolls into one big ball from (inside food processor) then you know its done, just place it on a floured surface to fold the ball of dough nicely.


No need to rest the dough, just get right to it. Quarter the dough then if using a rolling pin, roll the first quarter as long as you can, stretch it & make it become thin like lasagna noodle. Otherwise you can even usa a pasta machine and do the same thing. Once the dough becomes a consistency that is thin enough but not too heavy and firm enough to hold it's shape you've reached the fun part


Your going to create long rectangular strips of dough that look like RULERS use the "special" pastry cutter and cut the dough about 10 to 12 inches long and about 2 inches wide or if you want a taller or larger size pastry you can play around with the measurments. You can experiment and practice different sizes, miniature size are very cute too. Be patient & have fun.


Now comes the "art work",the real fun.

Imagine the dough in the shape of a ruler and begining from one end of the ruler working your way to the other end of the ruler, bringing the edges together and making it stick by pressing with your fingers like if your making bows but working the whole ruler which is the ("dough").

It will end up looking like little boats all stuck to eachother from end to end, but really you've now created the pockets like (little bowls) that will hold the wine syrup & absorb all the goodness as you can see from the picture above.


Now that you've done the boats all along the ruler /(dough), turn one end of the ruler inside by twisting it round, rotating & twirling it (lengthwise) till you reach the other end by pressing the dough together with fingers to stick so it holds it's shape. Now set aside till you finish the rest.


No need to dry them since this version is for baking. Preheat oven at 350 for 30 min. Put some of the beautiful cartellate on a cookie sheet (do not grease) but leave space

between them so they cook evenly

(do not crowd them) bake in seperate batches. Bake on the low bottom rack till lightly browned about 3 to 5 min.

the TIME MAY VARY so stay close to oven they should color "lightly"



Heat the syrup in a sauce pot till it comes to a small boil,(medium-low heat

IMMERSE the baked cartellate 3 at a time into the boiling pot of syrup,

while still boiling. Make sure the cartellate are dipped well & covered with syrup all around, turn them upside down & immerse well for about LESS THEN 1 MIN. TO 1 FULL MIN.

Remove them from the (lightly boiling syrup) but do not drain them too much,

leave some of the delicious syrup inside the pockets of the cartellate and place them on a broad, low flat platters, do not put them on top of eachother, let them cool first. Do not put them on a cooling rack to cool, since its best to let the pastry absorb as much of the syrup.


After they are cooled dust some powdered cinnamon & some powdered cloves over them. If you can't find powdered cloves, you can buy them whole & grate some of it over the cartellate.


This type of pastry should not be eaten right away because its too hard to chew & can hurt & bruise your palet. It's usually stored in a sealed air tight plastic container and even hidden away till xmas. It can stay stored for up to 4 weeks sometimes more. The more they sit, the more syrup will be absorbed which will make them become soft enough to chew and unbelievable delicious. That's why they are prepared way ahead of xmas time. They stay durable & can last till Italian carnival week and (La Befana) both in the month of January. Keep them at room temperature for 24 hrs before putting them in the frige, traditionally their kept in a cool place not in the frige and served at room temp.


Pour 3 liters of the red wine into a sauce pot and bring it to a low boil on medium heat. Add the orange peels and cook uncovered for up to 2 to 3 hours (TIME MAY VARY). Stir & check the consistency of the liquid, it should slowly become a syrup. Let the wine cook down enough. You will notice the quantity level reducing to half and the more it cooks down the level the more sweeter it becomes but be careful not to let it become too thick, it should be the same consistency as maple or corn syrup.

In the end the color of the wine will be much richer, darker and deeper and when it cools a little, give it a taste, you will be in HEAVEN, and amazed at how rich & sweet flavour it has become. It's a magical experience.

If you have leftover, keep in cool place or even refrigerate for up to 6 months (depending, sometimes even longer) it keeps well without deteriorating at all. Keep in a sterile jar or bottle or even an air tight plastic container. Do not freeze

Of course cool syrup completely before storing.



This is actually the original syrup to bathe the cartellate. Which is the most authentic & foremost

"BARESE STYLE". This process is much longer. Almost as long as making tomato sauce. Dried figs are available at most supermarkets. In Bari they dry the figs themselves like they do with tomatoes, prunes, grapes, & cherries.

Cut the dried figs in quarters, drop them in a high pot & pour enough water to cover them "deep". Enough water so the figs can swim and move around, up & down almost like cooking pasta. The water should reach the middle or center of pot.

Bring to a medium boil on medium high heat and let them cook uncovered for aprox. 1 to 2 hours. Stir often. When figs are fresh they are already very sweet but dried they shrink in size and develope such a high concentrate of sweetness. That's why it's important to cook them in enough water

so they release the sugar and plump up in size again.

After about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, again

(time may vary) of cooking check if they have plumped in size. Then you must strain them but of course keep all the juice which will have thickened slightly. Grind the plumped up figs in a "manual" hand grinder same kind of grinder used for making tomato sauce or even better blend them in an electric blender with some of the juice till they are liquefied into a thicker consistency.

(You may even use an electric "hand" blender)

Then bring everything back to the pot, extra juice & all and let it cook down till the volume is reduced by half for about another 3 to 4 hours, till it becomes the magical syrup as the wine syrup, remember same thickness as the maple or corn syrup. To get an even more finer syrup, you can strain it again for the second time. This type of syrup has a very special flavour like no other.


NOTES RE: VINCOTTO: These special type of syrups are excellent on ice cream, pancakes, waffels, strawberries, pineapples, trifles & any other kind of desserts, also to dunk biscotties, inside chocolates, even used in cocktail drinks, great with meat & fish dishes (in some very fine restaurants). In Bari they dip their pettole & they even pour some on the braciole along with fresh wine while sauteing in a frying pan. It might be long to read but its not long or hard to do at all. Just 1 ingredient can stretch so far, not as expensive as the bottled store bought. It's really well worth it. A TRUE DELICACY TO LOVE ! These syrups also come bottled & can be purchased at some Italian specialty stores, may also be available at some liquor stores. To be sure to find them in Montreal try "Barese" specialty stores or you may order on line, (very expensive & not the same taste). Some are already flavoured with diff. fruits, cinnamon, spices, ect. NOTES RE: CARTELLATE: Originally we always fryed them as my great grandmothers always did and so many people still do of course & some other Pugliese used to cover them in honey & cooked "WHITE" WINE but honey back then was more expensive then the wine. But the Barese most of all love their true tradition, they prefer the cotto di fichi secchi which is their favorite. Both my grandmothers & also my mother along with her large family always made them fryed with cotto di fichi secchi. Now we prefer them baked, less fat, less work & the best part is that it holds its shape much better (I just love the baked version) it tastes better too. Even the vincotto is a step easier to do then the dried figs even if the fig version has a denser, much sweeter taste then the vincotto, but today we always want to do things faster. You may even add 1/2 cup of sugar to the same amount of ingredients of this recipe. Some use unbleached flour & some put the powdered cinnamon & clove in the dough instead of as a garnish. According to one of my aunts who still lives in Sannicandro di Bari, says, originally the nuns would bake them. At first they were not made to fry. The nuns of Bari were the first to create them & then taught every women in this city the craft of these pastry christmas treats. I did some research and found that the liguists and historians suggest that the "carteddate" are mentioned in the Ospizio dei Pellegrini di San Nicola di Bari, registry of provisions, meals and Sunday expenses from 1762, as coming from the Benedictine nuns of the Convent of Santa Scholastica. These cartellate / carteddate go far back, they were born & originated first in Bari and then spread around the rest of Puglia and neighboring regions of Bari, Foggia & Taranto, regions such as Matera, Basilicata, Potenza, Lucania & Molise. Bari is famous for Saint Nicolas shrine and was always visited by pilgrims from all over who would come during December 6th (St.Nicolas special day) & also during Christmas to visit the famous cathedral of Saint Nicolas and make wishes. This is the City where the "real" Santa Claus (the BISHOP) lived & preached & where his bones are kept (the burial). During this time, these carteddate were exposed all around the streets. Back then people would lay them on tables to dry out on their door steps and visitors began to be curious and attracted to them with interest to taste and even request if they could buy them. I must explain what happens on December 6th, St. Nicolas's very special day. They perform a very spiritual mass of receiving the holy watery liquid that is extracted from the tomb. Because every year the "relics" exude a clear liquid which is collected on this very special day by the clergy. People line up and each have a chance to kneel down to touch the watery liquid from inside the tomb. I must also explain what happens on Christmas eve and all through the whole month of December. People/pilgrims from close regions of Puglia and all around Italy and as well as the catholics & orthodoxs Russians, even Greeks came to "MAKE A WISH". It is said that it takes about 3 weeks for St. Nicolas to answer your wish but not all is granted, only to the true, honest & strong faithful ones. No wishes are answered or accepted if it is for man-made materials. Now though they also say that the "Saint" grants wishes not just on Christmas but all year round (all throughout the year). In Bari the carteddate does not age it's their Christmas "symbol" & delicacy. Their proud & they treasure them as they do for their strong faith in St.Nicolas their "PATRON". Today chefs in fine restaurants are serving cartellate with ice cream as a delicacy all year round with of course the vincotto and powdered roasted nuts. As per my mom, who says that in the past they would put them to dry outside their door steps. For almost two months begining from December 6th the second feast of St. Nicolas (since the first feast was and still is in May) all through christmas and mid January. The old streets of Bari were always filled with carteddate. Today if you go during christmas time you will still see some people who still dry them outside, as a symbol of xmas, like little white jewels. Tourists who come for the second feast of St. Nicolas December 6th are inspired when they see these carteddate layed out on tables along the narrow streets close to the cathedral. They are so pretty & "PERFECTLY" done, looking very refined (not sloppy looking). Their sold "home made" on the streets of Bari to many tourists as well as locals. They sell them plain with no topping. Even today Bari still receives lots & lots of pilgrims during xmas time and of couse all year round, not just from other countries but from neighboring regions as well. This ancient & modern metropolitan city was always and still is a very busy & important port for importing & exporting. Bari, "the high heel" of the boot of the country, is also the 2nd largest city in Italy & capital of Puglia which is the longest region of Italy. Least mountainous & most agriculturally productive region because of its flat plains/surface. Foggia also always got lots of pilgrims from all over Italy for the famous "Gargano" & "Monte Sant Angelo" and during christmas people came to visit the cave of San Michele Arcangelo that performed miracles. It is said that some hikers on the Gargano mountain of Sant Angelo seen a vision of (our Lady) (the Holy Madonna). In fact this place had become so famous and over crowded with visitors that they had to build cottages just to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims that came every christmas & summer. They built so many "white" cottages on this sacred special mountain that it became called (THE WHITE VILLAGE OF THE PILGRIMS). During christmas time they also would prepare the traditional Pugliese treat "cartellate" and lay them out to dry on tables in front of their door steps for everyone to see and enjoy. (This is every Pugliese's special xmas symbol). Now since the 70's & 80's & 90's Foggia has become more popular because of Padre Pio /"Saint"padre Pio Thousands come to San Giovanni Rotondo to see his body which is exposed / on display in a glass coffin. In the past as in the present, Bari & Foggia has always been visited by many of its neighboring regions. Some say that the cartellate looks like a flower, a rose, the crown of Jesus & even a nest. But logically they were first created with the wine syrup in mind. A kind of shape that would be able to hold the syrup because this liquid was and still is very special. Later though, those who didn't have wine experimented with dried fruits like figs. It was not a fast creation, it took some time and lots of practice for the nuns of Bari to come up with this shape. They also say that nuns had lots of spare time and had lots of patience and the monks had lots of wine to go around. Personnally I don't think anyone should fry them because it completely looses its beautiful shape. I honestly don't know when & how & why the directions for this recipe changed and became acceptable to frying them. I don't think it was the nuns, frying to them was not proper, they baked everything along with holy bread & so on. I believe that the frying version developed from some who did not have wine and would also come from the influence of (carnaval fritters) which became popular later. How could anyone fry something that is so delicate & beautiful.It does not make sence.( Much later the carnaval bow shaped fritters was inspired from the quarter version of the cartellate shape. There is not other pastry like this in the world, truly unique, still in it's reserved shell, still to be discovered & loved from foreigners, as if it's Santa's little secret, only to be seen & savor once a year, (christmas). However today it is slowly becoming more then just an old Barese xmas treat. Chefs have recognized & discovered it as being a true delicacy. The more vincotto sits & ages the more thicker & sweeter it gets & more expensive too. The same story as aged balsamic vinegar. The more you taste it, the more you begin to appreciate it & develope a Mature palet which you never knew you had, like a new sence of taste. AN EXPERIENCE TO LOVE !! My final note as my own experience is that children's palets are too young to be able to enjoy this one of a kind pastry with vincotto. That's why I call it the most mature kind of pastry that is made for "adults only". Just like drinking wine. Cartellate Barese with vincotto have texture & a very sweet & a little tart flavour that is out of this world ! "CALZONCELLI" is another popular christmas treat traditionally from Bari. This is a half moon shape pastry filled with sweeten ricotta & sometimes with chocolate ricotta & nuts, cut also with same type of pastry cutter and then fryed. This pastry is traditionally eaten on christmas eve.

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