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Catholic Recipe: Symbolic Pastries


  • 5 lbs. flour
  • 1 lb. shortening
  • Water — enough to form a firm dough
  • (This dough is not edible.)
  • dried fig filling


Prep Time: N/A

Difficulty: • • • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:15+

Origin: Italy


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These non-edible pastries are an important part of the Sicilian custom of the St. Joseph Altar. They represent objects that are sacred and holy in the life of the Holy Family or the Church.They can be formed in the shape of a Spada (monstrance), hearts, basket, fish, staff, etc.


Combine all ingredients. Knead and roll out as thin as possible — large enough to cut out the desired shape. Dried fig filling is placed on dough in the shape of the symbol being made. Another thin layer of dough is placed over the figs and bottom layer of dough. With great care and artistic skill, cut out leaves, flowers, etc. through the top layer to expose figs. The top layer is similar to a piece of "cut work." It is then baked in a low-heat oven to a light brown.

Recipe Source: Viva San Giuseppe by St. Joseph Guild, St. Joseph Guild, 1200 Mirabeau Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70122