'Twas the week before Christmas...
With Christmas just one week away, I decided to do some pre-preparation for the diva dinner I’m going to have on 26 December with my girlfriends. I’d learned the recipe for this traditional Christmas delight - Italian panforte (literally hard bread in Italian) from Chef Oscar Pasinato of Buko Nero (a lovely little Italian restaurant here in Singapore which is so consistently good that it has a month-long waiting list for dinner).
The biggest selling point of the panforte was the fact that it can keep for up to a month! Chef Oscar had told us (perhaps jokingly, just perhaps) that in Italy, they even prepare it at Christmas and eat it all the way up to Easter. Whatever the case may be, I was sufficiently confident that it would keep for at least two weeks to feed whoever might drop by my home (Santa, can you hear me?).
The recipe contains honey, chocolate, dried apricots, blanched almonds, sugar, ground cinnamon, a pinch of salt and flour. I opted to use Manuka honey - so my dear friends, you know you're getting the good stuff! The honey and sugar are heated and melted together, then mixed with the dried apricots, almonds, cinnamon, salt and flour. The melted chocolate is then quickly stirred in to form a super dense mixture that bakes in the oven for between 25 – 45 minutes (mine took much longer to bake than the version at the cooking class – perhaps my oven temperature is not what it purports to be). A ultra sweet and chocolatey chewy ‘bread’ is the result. Not meant to be eaten in large quantities due to the huge amount of sugar, it is simply perfect in the teeny tiny pieces shown in the picture alongside a great cup of expresso.