Pitta ‘Nchiusa or Mpigliata: An authentic taste of Calabria

History and Origin of Pitta nchiusa or Mpigliata

If you’re looking for a delicious and authentic Calabrian dessert, look no further than pitta ‘nchiusa. This traditional sweet pie is made with a flaky pastry crust and a filling of dried fruits, nuts, and spices. The filling is typically made with a mixture of figs, raisins, walnuts, almonds, and spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The pie is then baked until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and hot. It’s a perfect example of a Mediterranenan dessert who find its own place in of the most unrated Region of Italy. Did you visit?

Pitta ‘nchiusa has a long and rich history dating back to the 16th century. It is believed to have originated in the town of San Giovanni in Fiore in the province of Cosenza. Beautiful little town named the capital of Sila, another beautiful place to visit.

Today it is widespread throughout the region with some small variations concerning only the final shape and not the ingredients. Its origins date back to at least the 1700s, as evidenced by a notarial document found in the municipal archives. The document stipulates an agreement between the Giaquinta spouses of San Giovanni and Battista Caligiuro, a wealthy landowner who intended to marry their daughter. The contract stipulated that Caligiuro would take care of the wedding banquet and that, at the end of it, the pitta ‘nchiusa would be served. (what a Party 🙂

“…a far la bocca dolce ai commensali penserà la famiglia dello sposo, che a fine pranzo dovrà offrire la pitta ‘mpigliata preparata anzitempo curando che la stessa sia di finezza giusta.”

In reality, the origins of the pitta ‘nchiusa are even older and deeply linked to Greek history.

The term “pitta” derives from the Greek term “picta”, (familiar with pizza isin’t it?) meaning painted or decorated. In ancient times, the pitta was offered to the goddesses as a sign of admiration and respect during pagan rituals in the temples of the territory.

Later, with the advent of Christianity, many churches were built to celebrate the cult of the Virgin Mary and, in this case too, the sweet offered as a gift was the pitta (hence the name “della Madonna”).

According to tradition, the importance of this dessert was so rooted in Calabrian families that its perfect execution was among the most sought-after qualities in brides during the marriage contract.


The ingredients for pitta ‘nchiusa are simple and easy to find. For the crust, you will need flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and water. For the filling, you will need, raisins, walnuts, almonds, sugar or honey, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.


To make pitta ‘nchiusa, start by making the crust. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and water. Mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


While the dough is chilling, make the filling. In a medium bowl, combine, raisins, walnuts, almonds, sugar or honey, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Mix until well combined.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the edges of the dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Dot the filling with olive oil or butter.

Fold the overhang of the dough over the filling. Crimp the edges of the dough to seal.

Bake the pie for 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and hot.

Let the pie cool slightly before serving. Even better the day after 


    • For a more flavorful crust, use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour.

    • If you don’t have any dried figs, you can use dried apricots or prunes instead.

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