Rapini

Bringing the Cuisine of Regional Italy to America

How to make Pitta 'mpigliata, a traditional Christmas dessert from Calabria

Posted: December 15, 2011 -- John Blount

 

I've had this dessert before years ago, and by coincidence Valentina Prencipe has filmed and written a blog post about this scrumptious rich Calabrian dessert.  See how beautiful it comes out looking like roses. We have a great video that you can see by clicking on the image below to see how to make it.  Here is what Valentina writes about this southern Italian dessert.

".....I love southern Italian Christmas desserts, they are wonderful, rich in flavours and so simple at the same time. All ingredients are from our countryside, no butter in them, instead we use extra virgin olive oil! In the South of Italy we have a great respect for traditions and  the Christmas dessert cooking session is one of our more ancient traditions. Southern grandmothers and mothers  used to prepare desserts for their family all together before Christmas so..  Here it is, a video made for you with my friends Mariella and Teresa and my sister Emma preparing the pitta ‘mpigliata, a traditional Christmas dessert from Calabria, and I am the camerawoman.
Enjoy it!...."

 

click on the image above to see the video

click on the above image to see a 5 min 29 secs video on how to make Pitta 'mpigliata

 

The video tells and shows you everything, but in case you want to see it written, here it is:

Ingredients

Crust:
2 lbs flour
1 cup water
1 cup red wine
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil (or 1/2 cup of butter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 oz baking powder

Stuffing:
honey
cinnamon
3 lemon peels
2 lbs walnuts
10 oz raisins

Mix flour, sugar and baking powder and knead slowing adding the water, then the wine a little at a time. Continue to knead adding the eggs, the olive oil (or butter), and keep kneading until the dough is elastic. Allow it to rest a little under a cloth. Prepare the stuffing with crushed walnuts, grated lemon peel, sugar, honey, the raisins that were reconstituted in water, and the cinnamon. In the video they use an Imperia pasta machine, but if you don't have one then use a rolling pin to obtain strips of 1/8 in thick dough that's about 4 inches wide. Finish the edges with a rolling pizza cutter to obtain a zig zag edge. Drizzle the honey down the middle of each strip of dough and add the stuffing. Fold over the edges to trap the stuffing inside, and roll the stuffed strips into rose shapes. Place the roses in an oven pan and cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes and VOILA! 

... and nothing could make your Christmas more merrier!

 

I think this is a perfect dessert for people in America, or at least out here in California, because we have the best walnuts you can get, and raisins too! Give it that all Italian touch by using good extra virgin olive oil, or make it more American by using butter.

 

I'm going to leave you with the image of San Giovanni in Fiore, located in the remote Sila Mountains of Calabria in the "toe" of the boot of Italy where this dessert was invented, and where today they have a yearly contest and award the pitta 'mpigliata baker who makes the longest strips!

 

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