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Pinza of Bologna. A typical cupboard ciambella

Pinza of Bologna. A typical cupboard ciambella
Pinza of Bologna is a recipe that speaks Bolognese.

It is a pantry cake made with a few simple ingredients.
It was once a typical homemade preparation that was never missing from the table of Bolognese families, especially those of peasant origin.

Pinza of Bologna. A typical cupboard ciambella

Pinza and sweet mustard: two typical products of Bologna

The recipe for pinza first appears in a volume devoted to local history from 1644. The pinza of Bologna was a typical dessert of the Christmas season that, in a short time, became a popular year-round cupboard and bakery dessert.

Because pinza means plier, its name probably comes from the shape: a roll of dough encloses inside a filling of mostarda Bolognese and other good things.

The ingredients tell of its peasant origin.
It is a dry, low-sugar ciambella without butter or oil. Butter is a modern introduction. An elderly lady who lives in the neighborhood, but was born and raised in the countryside surrounding Bologna, told me once there wasn’t butter in the recipe.

The dough is like pasta dough, eggs, and flour.

And a little sugar, of course. The same thing of fried tagliatelle, another typical Bolognese sweet of the carnival period. If you like, add the scent of lemon zest to the dough.

I checked the recipe of the master pastry chef from Bologna, Gino Fabbri.
In his version, he adds only 50 g of butter in all. However, the dough will be crumbly, like that of other very similar recipes. For instance, raviole, typical Bologna cookies filled with Bolognese mustard, and the Romagna ciambella.

Mostarda Bolognese and a little other fruit, inexpensive ingredients always available in the peasant pantry, serve as the filling. Mostarda, combined with plum jam and, in some people’s recipes, even cherry preserve, is the characteristic and original filling of Pinza Bolognese.

The local mustard, made from apples or quince pears, is sweet and not spicy, with a fragrant, almost spicy note. It is a filling for cupboard cakes and is also perfect to accompany boiled meats and cheeses.

Of course, you can fill Pinza bolognese with a jam to your taste or chocolate cream.

Like all old-fashioned pantry cakes, made to last a long time, it keeps fragrant for several days.

Buona cucina, Monica

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Pinza of Bologna. A typical cupboard ciambella

Pinza of Bologna. A typical cupboard ciambella

Pinza of Bologna recipe

serves 6
List of Ingredients

00 flour, 300g
baking powder for cakes without flavoring, 5g
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
mostarda Bolognese, 125 g
plum and cherry jam, mixed, 120 g
3 eggs
caster sugar, 100 g + that for decoration
raisins soaked in water, 20 g
pine nuts, 10 g


In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt and mix with a spoon.
Place on the cutting board forming a dome or in the bowl of the planetary mixer. In the first case, make a space in the center of the flour, as for pasta dough.

Beat the eggs with sugar and pour the batter into the middle of the fountain. Add the grated lemon zest and knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

In a bowl, mix the cherry and plum preserves. Now combine the Bologna mustard as well.

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured sheet of baking paper, forming a large rectangle about 1/2 cm high.

Leave the edges of the clean, spread the mustard and jam mix, and distribute raisins and pine nuts.

Helping yourself with baking paper, fold the two edges of the long sides toward the inside.

Now fold the other two sides so that the two edges are slightly overlapping.

The final shape is that of a large wallet. Seal the edges by lightly pressing the dough edges together, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake in a preheated, oven at 180C degrees for about 30-35 minutes. If needed, leave a few minutes in the oven off and with the door closed.

Let cool before cutting into slices.

Traditional recipes of Bologna

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