The traditional Venetian Pinza

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Written by EFW Staff

The traditional Venetian Pinza

Pinza is the name of a simple dessert, very seasoned and flavoured, usually prepared for the arrival of Befana (a kind old woman who, according to legend, comes down the chimney during the night, bringing gifts for good children and coal for naughty ones). This dessert is spread all over Veneto: in the provinces of Padova, Treviso and Venice its name is Pinza, whereas in Vicenza it is called Macafame, which derives from the idea of calm down the hunger (in the venetian dialect, “ammaccare la fame”) eating such a nourishing food.
The recipe can vary from a place to another, but all the ingredients come from the peasant tradition: white flour, yellow flour, yeast, sugar and eggs adding also candied fruit, dried figs, walnuts and fennel seeds.

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Pinza is traditionally eaten during the typical bonfire at the beginning of the year. It is an ancient tradition that finds its origin in the purifier and propitiatory rites of the pre-Christian times, passed down till today thanks to the peasant culture.
A kind of puppet is placed on the bonfire and they burn together. The puppet is the symbol of the past, that is burned, whereas the flames represent the hope and the future.
The tradition wants to taste at least 7 different types of Pinza to really have good luck during the New Year.

Pinza recipe

There are two types of Pinza: rose Pinza, mainly produced in the areas on the left side of Piave river in the province of Treviso and areas close to Vittorio Veneto and Conegliano; and non rose Pinza prepared in Treviso and the zone on the right side of Piave river.

400 gr of yellow cornmeal
600 gr of flour 00
100 gr of butter
1,6 litres of hot milk
150 gr of sugar
1 pocket of yeast
250 gr of walnut kernel
200 gr of sultana wet with rum or Marsala
100 gr of soft dried figs in dices
100 gr of pine nuts
2 apples
Fennel seeds
Grated lemon zest
2 eggs
30 gr of butter
A pinch of salt
1 l of milk


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Mix carefully the two types of flours, sugar and the pocket of yeasts, melt the butter in the hot milk and add slowly without lumps. Add all the other ingredients, blend and make rest for an hour. Fill a baking pan or a mould with the dough, cover with thin slices of apple and sprinkle the top with sugar.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180° for an hour and serve once cooled down. The tradition wants to pair Pinza with mulled wine, but also with a sweet wine such as Fragolino or Torcolato di Breganze.


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