Pitta ‘mpigliata

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This Calabrian pastry recipe is traditionally found around Easter and Christmas, thanks to its indulgent filling of dried fruit, nuts, liqueurs and honey. Chewy, crispy, sweet and nutty all at once, it's a fantastic example of southern Italian pastry work.

First published in 2019

A festive cake, prepared for special celebrations such as weddings and family gatherings, as well as for Christmas and Easter, pitta ‘mpigliata is typical of the province of Cosenza. It’s an elaborate preparation, in which nuts, dried fruits, honey, cinnamon and citrus are the key ingredients. And although it might seem laborious, the final result – crisp, fragrant and inebriating – is a true showstopper, and very much worth the effort.




For the filling

  • 500g of raisins, soaked
  • 400g of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 50ml of orange juice
  • 1 tbsp of sambuca
  • 1 tbsp of Liquore Strega

For the dough

  • 500g of plain flour, sifted
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml of sweet wine, such as Moscato Passito
  • 50ml of orange juice
  • 1 tbsp of sambuca
  • 1 tbsp of Liquore Strega
  • 1 tbsp of runny honey
  • extra virgin olive oil, for brushing the dough

To serve

  • 200ml of runny honey, to glaze the cake


  • 23cm springform cake tin


Drain the raisins and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a bowl with the walnuts and the other filling ingredients. Toss to combine and set aside
In a large bowl, combine the flour with the sugar and cinnamon. Place the oil, wine, orange juice and liqueurs in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour the liquid over the flour mixture and stir until it all comes together into a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a work surface and knead until smooth on the surface, for about 10 minutes. (You can do the whole operation in a stand mixer using a hook attachment, if preferred.) Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest for 1 hour
Unwrap the dough and divide into 6 pieces. Roll one of the pieces into a circle with a floured rolling pin – it should be quite thin (about 1mm thick), and wide enough to cover the base and sides of your baking tin
Brush the tin with olive oil, then flip the rolled-out dough onto it and press it gently into the tin to make it adhere to the bottom and sides
Cut each remaining piece of dough in half, and roll them out into long stips. They should be as thin as the base (about 1mm), about 20cm long and 6cm wide. Brush the strips with olive oil
Place a few spoonfuls of the raisin and walnut filling along one of the strips, covering three-quarters of the pastry and leaving one of the long edges uncovered. Roll the strip to form a rose of sorts. Ease it along the edge of the dough-lined tin. Repeat with the other strips, working from the edges of the tin towards the centre
Once you’ve filled the tin, open up the top of the “roses” so as to make the pitta look a little fuller. Trim any stray or irregular edges with a paring knife
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Bake the pitta for 30 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until deeply golden, crisp and cooked through
Remove from the oven and brush with warm honey to give it a bit of a shine. Serve warm or at room temperature

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