The Calabrian crocette are figs dried in the sun and stuffed with dried fruit, in particular walnut kernels. An ancient recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation, one of the most typical expressions of Calabrian production.
The name "crocette" derives from the way the figs are worked, intertwining them to form a small cross.
The arrival of the fig in Calabria is thanks to the Phoenicians, navigators par excellence who, in their crossings, found great nourishment and calories in this fruit in a dried version. And in this land the environment favors its quality, thanks to a breezy hilly habitat, so much so that it has always been considered the true bread of the poor.
Between the 1930s and 1950s Cosenza and its province produced 100,000 quintals of figs, and that much was destined for export; it was easy to come across in Parisian shops, after the last war, in the "Fichi di Cosenza". The countryside then depopulated and the cultivation of figs, which required a permanent population for drying, gradually decreased, from 100 to 10,000 quintals an hour, but was never completely lost. In fact, those who remained to cultivate the land not only contributed to the diffusion of the plant, but favored the presence of an economic activity strongly linked to the transformation of the product, with the drying and production of sweets such as the crocette (four figs opened and reassembled crosswise with the walnut filling), the chocolate covered ones, the fig and almond salami, the baked figs.
Starting from the "Fichi di Cosenza" in the "Dottato" variety (clear skin and honey flavor), and excluding phytosanitary treatments with synthetic chemical products, it proceeds with the traditional drying on the "cannizze" (reed trellises tied by mulberry twigs) and drying in the sun.
The Calabrian crocette "e crucette calabrisi" are an ancient recipe that has been handed down in the family. They are called crosses due to the way they are worked, crossed as if it were a small cross. Dried fruit is placed inside the spreaders but in particular walnut kernels or almonds are used. Once cooked in a hot oven they are sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon
A little history of how figs were produced in the past. The most suitable quality is the Dottato fig which has small seeds inside unlike other types which have large seeds. The figs were collected from the trees, when they began to wither and left to dry in the sun on reed trellises "e spasulate" were turned from time to time so that they dried on all sides and became white figs "ficu ianche". In the evening they were covered to prevent them from getting wet and darkened by the dew during the night. When they were well dried you could work them, chosen one by one the most beautiful were used to make the crosses. Even today those who are lucky enough to have fig trees use the same procedure. Figs are a food that, still, can be bought from local producers, in recent years local production due to climate change has decreased and one has to settle for a product dried in dryers, just as good but the scent of figs in the sun it's much more intense!
Today with the dottato fig of Cosenza many delicacies are born such as the "Fichetti al Rum covered with extra dark chocolate"