Monday, 27 January 2014

pinza and blackbirds

in italy, the last three days of january (29, 30 and 31) are called the days of the blackbird {i giorni della merla}, and they are traditionally considered the coldest days of the year. and i hope they will be freezing cold, because it is also said that if the days of the blackbird are as cold as they should be, then a fine spring is around the corner, but if they are warm, it means that spring will arrive later than usual. 

with such a weather, staying indoors and baking are the best thing. a typical winter cake in veneto, friuli and some trentino's valleys is called pinza. there is no recipe of the pinza. it  varies from location to location, from family to family, with some basic general features. the ingredients are simple, typical of the rural tradition: white flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, candied fruit, dried figs, raisins and fennel seeds.

the very special occasion to eat pinza is usually the panevin, when families gather togheter, and you can taste all the different pinza recipes they made! 

this is how i do it. 

200 g cornmeal
200 g wheat flour
120 g softned butter
1 egg
130 g sugar
dried figs*
250 ml milk
a coffee cup** of grappa {grape spirit}
a coffee cup** of sweet wine
baking powder 
1 orange
salt to taste

* quantity as you like
** i mean espresso

put the raisins to soak in the grappa. knead the flours, butter, baking powder, egg, zest and juice from the orange, salt. add raisins with grappa, sweet wine, figs and almonds. add warm milk. the dough will have a quite liquid consistency. pur on a cake pan, bake for 1 hour at 170°. 

better served with hot wine, friends and the best stories from last year. 


  1. The Pinza sounds and looks delicious! I wish I could have a bite right now!
    I don't recall having anything special for "I giorni della Merla", but I remember my grandma using this expression very often. I miss her now!
    I hope you're going to have a very cold end of January and that Spring will come soon and warm!

    1. it's very cold outside right now. the days of the blackbird are starting in the best way :)
      thanks polly, sweet as always ♥

  2. I can't bake but i coud come over and eat a little bit of that cake with you*
    Wish airplane tickets were the price of a subway ride :)
    Beautiful mood in this pictures Silvia!

    1. All three sentences by Sara paint the same sentiments I have in my heart :) I hope you are very cold now, silvia!! ♥♥♥

    2. i wish that too ♥ we should organize a big meeting :)
      it's pretty cold now actually! yay!

  3. ohhh it looks interesting! thank you for sharing :D

  4. non sono mai stata un'amante della pinza ma il tuo post mi sta facendo avere dei ripensamenti XD

    1. neanche a me piace quando è troppo bassa e secca :) infatti sono stata "accusata" di fare una versione della pinza troppo moderna eheh! ma è questo il bello delle ricette collettive, ognuno la fa come più gli piace.

  5. this looks and sounds incredibly tasty, silvia!
    i think i know what i'll cook as soon as autumn comes along :)

    1. i'm envying your (beautiful) super-green summer shots! but enjoying winter cosiness, too. feel kind of torn ;)

  6. I love these kind of recipes. No actual recipe, just variations from place to place. It's the same with many Greek traditional recipes too. Every home has its version of a dish or dessert.
    I will try this, it looks wonderful.
    Glad to have found you, I like it here :)

    1. thank you Magda, and welcome! i love that aspect of traditional cuisine, too :)
      (i looked briefly at your blog, found some delicious-looking recipes, i'll come back for a closer look!)


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