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Pinza.. or Pinze?
A little history.....
Maize flour is a fundamental ingredient in Venetian cuisine and it was not only used to make polenta, on which the families of the farmers lived throughout the winter months, but also for some cakes or desserts, and the 'pinza' is the first among these.
The name derives from the Latin 'pinzus', which means pressed or filled. In fact this cake is filled with just about everything a sweet tooth would love to find in the winter pantry: dried figs, nuts, raisins, orange peel, pumpkin, fennel seeds and a glass of grappa. There are several different varieties of 'pinza', so really we should be talking about 'pinze' in the plural. The 5th January is an appointment that cannot be missed, when everyone gets together around 'Panevin' and every family brings their own version! The only distinction to be made really is that between the one with leavened dough and the other without: the first can be found on the territory of the left riverbanks of the Piave and the second on that of the right riverbanks.

200 gr. of yellow maize flour
200 gr. of wheat flour
200 gr. of butter
1 egg
200 gr. of sugar
300 gr. of raisins
300 gr. of dried figs
250 ml. of milk
Fennel seeds (to taste)
1 small glass of grappa
1 small glass of sweet wine
1 sachet of yeast
1 orange
Pinch of salt

Put the raisins to soak in the wine, cut the dried figs into small pieces and grate the peel of an orange and squeeze out the juice.
Mix on a baking-board the two types of flour, the yeast, the egg and add the rehydrated raisins, figs, orange peel and juice, the grappa and a pinch of salt. Gradually add the milk after heating and knead the dough until it becomes soft and thoroughly mixed. Place the dough in a baking tin lined with oven-proof paper and put in the oven for about one hour at 170°C. Test the cake before removing it from the oven to check that it is cooked by pricking with a toothpick which must be dry when taken out.
The 'pinza' should be allowed to cool first and served cold. It will keep for a few days.


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