Monday, November 24, 2014

Pita Piata (Italian Nut Rolls)

Pita Piata is an Italian traditional dessert, usually served during the Christmas holidays. This recipe is easy to make, because of the few ingredients and yeast isn't used in this dough. The raisins are soaked in your favorite sweet red wine for 10 hours or overnight. Also, the dough is flavored with red wine which gives it a pleasing scent, as it is baked in the oven. Once the rolls are baked you can drizzle orange blossom honey or agave nectar over the top and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar to complete this tasty dessert.

Ingredients for the dough:

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup sweet red wine
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup half and half

Ingredients for the filling:

12 oz. box raisins
1 cup sweet red wine or more to cover the raisins
1 cup walnuts (measured after finely chopped)

Ingredients for the topping:

Orange blossom honey or agave nectar (for drizzling)
1/4 cup sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons cinnamon (your preference)

Utensils needed:

2 cookie sheet pans lined with parchment paper.
Rolling cutter with a zig zag edge. You can order here.
Small glass dish and sifter.
Small glass dish for additional canola oil ( 1/2 cup) and a basting brush.
Round wood toothpicks.


In a medium bowl, soak the raisins in wine for 10 hours or overnight, covered it with plastic wrap and leave on counter. When it is time to mix the dough ingredients, drain the wine from the raisins and reserve for the cup of wine that is needed for the dough.

In a food processor, finely chop the walnuts and reserve in a medium bowl, covered with plastic wrap and leave on counter.

In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar with a fork and set aside. If you don't have a sifter cup like the one above. You can use a small sifter that sits on a small glass bowl like this below.

Mix all the dough ingredients together in a standing mixer bowl and attach a dough hook to the mixer. Combine the ingredients on low and continue to run the mixer on medium speed and if needed add more flour a little at a time until it is not sticky. Remove dough from mixer and put on a floured work surface and shape into a round ball. Put the dough ball on a plate the cover with a kitchen towel.
Take a knife and slice a portion of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a floured work surface, flipping it over a few times and shape into a rectangle approximately 10''x12'' and 1/8" inch thick.

Brush oil on the rolled out dough. Be very generous with the oil.
Next, sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Sprinkle next layer with the chopped nuts.
Sprinkle last layer with the raisins. 

Take the rolling cutter and cut a strip 2" inches wide. Fold over the edges to trap the stuffing inside, and roll the stuffed strip into a rose shape and secure with a toothpick. Place the rosette on a lined cookie sheet and start the process over again with another portion of dough until all the rosettes are made.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and bake until golden brown. About 25 to 30 minutes. Check the rosettes after the first 15 minutes and just turn the cookie sheet around in the oven for even baking.

When done, remove from oven and immediately, drizzle honey or agave nectar over the rosettes and sprinkle on more cinnamon mixture. After they have cooled a little, place the rosettes on cooling rack. Enjoy!