Preparation / Directions:
FOR THE FILLING: Stem the figs and quarter them. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water; steep 10 minutes. Drain and chop coarsely in the food processor. Combine with remaining ingredients. To prepare in advance, cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep at a cool room temperature or in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
For the dough: Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and stir to mix. Rub in the lard or butter finely, leaving the mixture powdery. Beat the eggs and milk to combine in a small bowl and stir into the flour mixture to form a dough. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly a few times. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each into a cylinder about 12 inches long. Flour the surface and the dough lightly and roll it into a rectangle about 14 inches long and 3 inches wide. Place a line of the filling down the center of each rectangle, using 1/12 of the filling for each piece of dough. Bring up the dough around the filling and pinch to seal. Turn the filled sausage of dough over so that the seam is on the bottom and cut it into 3 1/2- to 4-inch lengths. Using a sharp paring knife or single-edge razor blade, make a series of diagonal slashes in the top of each little sausage. Pull and twist gently, holding the sausage at each end to open the slashes. Transfer the Cucidati as they are formed to paper lined cookie sheets, curving them into wide horseshoe shapes.
Make an egg wash by beating the egg and salt together with a fork until it is loose. Paint each shape with the egg wash. Bake the Cucidati in a preheated 350 F. oven about 20 minutes, or until they are a light golden color. Cool, dust with confectioners' sugar and store the Cucidati in tins, between layers of wax pape