The Pinza, a sweet treat from the Veneto region

The Pinza, a sweet treat from the Veneto region

The Pinza!
Sweet of the Venetian tradition for the Holidays.

Once it was the sweet bread of Christmas, over time it became the dessert for the Epiphany celebration.
La pinza, in dialetto veneto pinsa, è un tipico dolce del nord est italiano. Viene preparata con allegria in occasione della Festa dell'Epifania.

Italy is full of traditions, legends, and rituals much older than our own religion.

It’s beautiful to see this blend of sacred and secular, preserving all its symbolism, its meanings, and, at its core, the need for hope and healthy values to hold onto.

The Pinza is a characteristic dessert from our Veneto region (but also found in Trentino and Friuli), prepared during the Epiphany celebration.

The ingredients are simple, from the poor peasant tradition of the past (but much richer today than in that humble past): white flour, yellow corn flour, sugar, and eggs are mixed together with yeast, along with candied fruits, dried figs, raisins, and fennel or anise seeds to enhance its flavor.

It’s further flavored with red wine, such as fragolino or mulled wine.

La tradizione del Panevin simboleggia l'anno vecchio che è finito e che quindi è pronto per nascere e portare prosperità.

It is a very calorific dessert, ideal for the cold winters. It’s delicious and is usually consumed from Christmas until after the Epiphany, also during the New Year bonfires, called ‘panevìni’ (but I’ll talk about those another time!).

Even now, that flame is a symbol of hope.

Alongside the desire to leave behind sad things, unrealized dreams, symbolically burning the unpleasant things of the past (today, ‘the old’ placed atop the wood and kindling pyre is set on fire).

The bonfire is often blessed by the parish priest, and the crackling of holy water in the fire is told as the enraged devil fleeing.

Even the direction of the smoke and sparks, following ancient rituals, is read as an omen for the future:

‘Bread and wine, the pinza under the chimney. If it goes westward, little bread, if it goes eastward, much bread.’

In short, it’s the eternal human desire to predict and know what the future holds for us!

La pinza, uno dei dolci preferiti al Hotel Germania di Jesolo

Before you ask, here’s the simple… Recipe:

INGREDIENTS

• 250 g of all-purpose flour
• 250 g of yellow cornmeal
• 150 g of butter
• 150 g of raisins
• 150 g of dried figs
• 50 g of chopped walnuts
• Fennel seeds, as needed
• Yeast, as needed
• Grappa (which is never missing in Veneto! 😄), as needed
• Salt, as needed
• 300 g of diced apples
• 300 g of diced pears


PREPARATION

Cook the two types of flour for about 30 minutes with salt, yeast, and an amount of water equal to twice the weight of the flours.

Meanwhile, let the raisins soften in the grappa.

Finally, remove the mixture from the heat and add all the ingredients.

Pour the batter into a previously greased and floured cake pan and bake at 170°C for 60 minutes.