The 'mpanatigghi, delicious biscuits typically from Modica, filled with chocolate and minced meat, are as old as they are original. Their name derives from the Spanish "empanadillas"; it seems that they were introduced to the County of Modica by the Spaniards.
An anecdote tells that, in the period of Lent during which the meat was forbidden, in order to sustain the priests who observed the fast, the nuns disguised it inside the biscuits whose consumption was allowed instead.
Leonardo Sciascia, in the description of the customs and habits of the Modica city, defined these delights as "travel biscuits", thanks to their nutritive principles and the long conservation (up to two weeks).
- Modica chocolate
For 6 people:
• 500 g 00 flour
• 150 g lard
• 130 g sugar + 200 g for the filling
• 60 g of marsala
• 5 egg yolks + 1 whole egg
• 200 g minced beef pulp
• 200 g ground toasted almonds
• 100 g chocolate from Modica
• 100 g shelled walnuts
• 10 g cinnamon
• 2 cloves
• icing sugar to taste
• a pinch of baking soda
• extra virgin olive oil to taste
For the pastry
1. Pour the flour on a work surface; in the center beat the egg yolks and the whole egg. Knead well.
2. Combine sugar, marsala and lard. Knead until mixture is soft and homogeneous.
3. Make a dough and leave it to rest in a cool and dry place for at least 40 minutes.
For the filling:
4. Put the minced meat in a pan with a little oil. Let it dry over a gentle flame.
5. Finely chop the almonds, walnuts and dark chocolate.
6. Combine all ingredients: minced meat, dried fruit and chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, crushed cloves, add a pinch of baking soda and mix well.
7. Work the dough a few more minutes and make sheets about 2 millimeters thick
8. Cut out some pastry disks.
9. Put a small pile of stuffing on each disk, covering just a half of it. Fold the other half, pressing the edges to seal them.
10. Take a pan greased with oil to place the 'mpanatigghi modicani, well separated from each other.
11. Make a small cut on each biscuit and bake at 180 ° C for 20-30 minutes.
12. Turn off when the surface is golden.
13. Let them cool and, before tasting, sprinkle with icing sugar.
14. These biscuits can be stored for about two weeks, specially in hermetically sealed glass containers.
15. If you prefer, you can enrich the filling with a little vanilla essence or a pinch of ginger. (There is also a vegetarian variant, in which meat is replaced with minced aubergines!).