CNYEats A Taste of Utica Pieta Chiusa

by Joanne on April 1, 2012

This week the recipe from our book A Taste of Utica is on pages 160 and 161, two separate recipes.


Ruth posted this first recipe.  I thought it was a bit difficult to follow. In fact, I’m not sure at all what the end result is suppose to look like or taste like.  I tried to do a search but nothing for “Pieta Chiusa” came up.  If you can offer any guidance on this one, it will be much appreciated.


“Here is Mom Constabile’s recipe for “Pieta Chiusa”  by Ruth

  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/2 cup Mazola oil
  • all the flour it takes..(I used 2 cups then more for rolling)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • cinnamon, cloves, oregano(that’s what the recipe said!…oregano), sugar, oil

Mix the eggs, baking powder, salt, sugar, oil, flour to make a pastry dough.  Roll the dough out and cut just enough off to line a greased pie plate.

Put the raisins in water, about 1/2 cup water, and bring to a boil for one minute. Drain and allow to cool.

Roll out the remaining dough (the dough you didn’t use to line the pie plate) into a thin rectangle.  Sprinkle on some cinnamon, cloves, oregano (YES..oregano but just a pinch), the raisins, and nuts.  Sprinkle with sugar and add a little oil to moisten.

*I used organic Sunflower oil from Stolor Organics.  See below for more info on this “SUPER” oil.

Roll the dough with the filling like a jelly roll and slice (about 1 1/2”).  Set in pastry lined pan. Tie the outer edge with string to hold together.  Sprinkle with a little oil over the top and bake at 350 F for 1 hour *If cutting the recipe in 1/2, bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. NOTE: This is where the recipe confused me.  I didn’t know if I needed to slice the pastry all the way through or just on top.  In addition, I had no idea what to tie together?!

If the pastry browns too fast during baking, cover with foil.


This is my Pieta Chiusa.  It is sweet and maybe a bit on the dry side. More oil needed.  Ted liked it. He called it “bread”.  In fact, in the following recipe posted by Schllac, yeast is used so maybe it should be more bread-like.


Pieta Chiusa by Schllac

  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 cups luke warm milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 TBS sugar
  • 8 cups bread flour (WOW!)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb shortening or 1 1/2 to 2 cups
  • cinnamon
  • nuts and raisins

Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add eggs and beat. Add vanilla and sugar. Use 4 cups of flour and mix with shortening and crumble it as if you were making a pie dough.  When crumbly, start mixing in the other 4 cups of flour. Slowly add milk-egg mixture. Knead till soft and smooth.  Allow to rise in warm place for one hour.

Divide dough into 2 or 4 pieces. Roll out as thin as possible. When dough is rolled out, cover with a thin film of shortening, olive oil or butter.  Then cover with sugar, add cinnamon all over then nuts and raisins to your own liking. *Some folk use candied fruit or dates.

Starting from one edge, fold over the dough about 1 inch and then cut into strips one at a time, roll each one from both ends to make a roll. Place in a heavy glass dish which has been greased or sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes and then turn down to 300 for 30 minutes.  Be sure you have your oven rack placed in the middle so it gets even baking.  Let sit for 15 minutes then remove from pan and let cool another 15 minutes.  Separate the Pieta Chiusa and allow to cool completely.  Glaze with icing and store in air tight container.


Memories of old town Utica, by Chris

My next door neighbor John had a very nice garden.  He was always working in it and pruning the trees in the front of his building, and always chasing me off his steps…I was only sitting to get away from the hot sun.  I can still hear him say “Chris, you got a head like a rock”.  Those were the days.


This oil was sent to me as a sample and in reading about all it’s healthy properties and multiple uses, I’m getting some more!  From food to skin care, some of the benefits of Sunflower oil include:  moisturizing, rich in vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, tryptophan, and contains a HOST of additional nutrients.

Sunflower oil4

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  • At 2012.04.01 19:30, Lori said:

    That actually looks really good! Kind of like ruggela (sp?). I bet grinding the nuts finer would also be good with this.

    • At 2012.04.02 17:06, Joanne said:

      Great idea. And you’re right, come to think of it, it does look like ruggala.

      • At 2012.04.02 09:43, Nava Krishnan said:

        I have never done anything near to this recipe you have shared, so nothing much I can let you know. In fact never heard of the name of this dessert before but they do look perfectly done and surely tempting for me.

        • At 2012.04.02 17:06, Joanne said:

          Be tempted. It’s pretty good. 🙂

          • At 2012.04.02 12:17, Julie said:

            Wow! That torus shape looks really attractive! And it seems to be delicious as well. This recipe could be our new favorite! Thanks for posting it!

            • At 2012.04.02 16:33, loraine said:

              After reading through both recipes, it sounds to me like you are supposed to place it in the pan like a cinnamon roll. The first recipe of course has a layer of crust probably to assist in holding all those nuts and raisins in. No idea on the string.

              • At 2012.04.02 16:58, Loraine said:

                Joanne, I love a good puzzle. Although I haven’t been able to find a recipe or a photo of your Pieta Chiusa. I got to thinking about a recipe that was called P’s & Q’s from my husband’s Italian side. I searched for that and found Cafe Canoli makes a Pitt’n’chuisa – “P’s & Q’s and sells both a large and small. Did not list a recipe or photo. I have not been to their new place but maybe if you called they might be able to tell you what it is. I know I have a P’s and Q’s recipe somewhere, will keep looking.

                • At 2012.04.02 17:07, Joanne said:

                  Great to know. I’ll have to pay CC a visit, buy a Pitt n’chiusa and do a follow up.

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