INGREDIENTS FOR: VINCOTTO
3 liters of dry red wine
(about 3 bottles or aprox. 12 cups)
4 strips of orange peels or of
(mandarine or tangerine)
INGREDIENTS FOR:COTTO DI FICHI SECCHI
(COOKED DRIED FIGS)
3 dozen dried figs
water (as much as needed)
DIRECTIONS: (VINO COTTO)(WINE SYRUP)
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.
DIRECTIONS FOR:(COTTO DI FICHI SECCHI)
(DRIED FIGS SYRUP)
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.