Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Pita Piatta Party: A Yaquinto Family Tradition
It's no surprise that many of the holiday traditions in our family revolve around food. One Italian family tradition is making a special pastry called pita piatta: a double coil of cinnamon-sugar-raisin-doughy yumminess. This family baking day is the start of Christmas – the beginning of the season – even more important than decorating the tree or wrapping gifts. On Sunday, my mom's cousin Jan (Oliveto-Grimm) and her family joined us for the first time to make our pita piatta. Can you see the resemblance?
When we make pita piatta we're talking quality and quantity; our pita piatta recipe makes 14. My mom's the chief recipe follower and she tries her best to maintain quality control (although she says this is hard with so many people helping out). We package them up and send them around the country to family and friends and we always serve them at our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities.
We started this tradition when I was a kid and we would always bake with my Grandpa Yaquinto (my mom's dad, John). He was the pita piatta master and he trained my dad in the mixing of the dough. My dad loves to put on the girliest apron in the house and get his muscles working in the dough.
This year Meilani joined us for her first "Pita Piatta Party." She put on an apron and helped Daddy with rolling out the dough. This is a very grown-up job she was eager to help with and even insisted on managing on her own. The dough is rolled out paper thin and then topped with a mixture of oil, cinnamon, sugar, raisins and walnuts. Meilani popped a few raisins in her mouth as she worked - just to make sure our ingredients were up to par. Then she helped sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar - my favorite part. I always imagine we are Christmas angels throwing stardust over the night sky on Christmas Eve.