There are many traditions that link Calabria to sweets and typical dishes during the holidays. Among these the most original is the preparation of the “Pretali”. These sweets take on different names depending on the geographical area of origin.
For example: in Reggio they are identified with the name of Pitrali or Petrali. In the area of the upper Locride with the name of Sammartini. In the Catanzaro instead, they are known with the name Pitta Nchjusa, and in the Cosenza area instead, a similar sweet is identified with the name of Chinulille (Chinule or Chinulilli).
It is not difficult to find similarities with other Calabrian or Italian locations in general that take on different forms and names. What is certain is that they are Christmas/Easter sweets that have the particularity of being prepared with the typical ingredients of the season, considering that in ancient times women housewives had these few ingredients depending on the season and you have fruits and preserves available.
But let’s see how these desserts are prepared.
For the filling:
- 200 g of sugar
- 300 g of dried figs
- 100g of toasted almonds
- 100g of hazelnuts
- 100g of walnuts
- 100 g of raisins
- 100 ml of coffee
- 50 g candied citrus fruits
- 2 tablespoons of bitter cocoa (20 gr)
- 2 tablespoons of honey (50 gr)
- 1 glass of vino cotto (200 ml)
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 tsp Cloves
- 1 handful of coloured confetti
For the dough: (making 30 Petrali)
- 500 g of 00 flour or all-purpose
- 150 g of granulated sugar
- 250 g of butter or lard
- 3 medium eggs
- Lemon zest
Finely chop the figs, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, candied fruit (orange and lemon), raisins, cloves, cinnamon, honey, vino cotto, cocoa powder and leave them to macerate for two days. (you can use a food processor or a meat grinder)
After this short period put the mixture on a very low flame and cook for about thirty minutes (keep stirring) to obtain a very thick product.
Leave to cool and if the filling is too hard, add some vino cotto.
Prepare the dough by quickly combining the sugar and butter first, then the eggs, the flour and the lemon zest, knead the dough well, wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it to rest for about half an hour.
Roll out the pastry not too thin and with the help of a mug or large glass cut out the discs and place a spoon of filling in the center, pass around the circumference of the disc of the beaten egg and close forming a half-moon.
Brush the Petrali with beaten egg on top and decorate with coloured confetti.
Bake at 160 ° C with a convection oven or 180 ° C with a static oven for about 25 minutes; they will be well cooked when they are golden brown.