For many years now, Modena has adopted us and made us feel at home. And what better way to celebrate this charming, small town in the Emilia-Romagna region, than to prepare a recipe that speaks of the territory and its traditions?
The recipe of the Christmas Bread comes from the Rezdore (the guardians of Modena’s culinary traditions) who jealousy hide their family recipes, passing them down from generation to generation. It’s a dessert typically prepared during the holiday season: it looks like a beautiful dark bread brushed on the outside with saba, a syrup obtained from grape must.
Usually prepared in many different ways, every family has its own personal version of this recipe. Historically, the Christmas Bread used to be made with recovered ingredients from the Christmas lunch. Today, those who still prepare it at home, make large quantities of it and share it with their neighbors and friends.
It used to be called “Big Christmas Bread” and was nothing more than a loaf of bread with peanuts and walnuts. A cross used to be drawn on the top of the bread and indicated where it would be cut into different pieces and shared between family members. The traditional recipe then developed, incorporating dried fruit, jam, chocolate, raisins and other ingredients.
The peculiarity of this dessert is that the filling ends up being different in each slice making each bite unique. Just like our team, where different stories and personalities meet to achieve a common goal: transforming awareness into action.
With our own version of the Christmas Bread, we tried to convey why Cooking is an Act of Love to us. Each one of us identified an ingredient that we associate with where we grew up and that is often wasted during the holiday season, to demonstrate that sometimes a pinch of creativity and attention is all we need.
Try to make your own version of Christmas bread and share it with your loved ones.
Prepare the ingredients on the table: chop the candied fruit and dried fruit into small pieces, crumble the chocolate, peel the nuts and rehydrate the plums.
Put the jam in a large bowl and add the candied fruit, the chocolate and the lemon zest. Mix them well until blended. Then let the ingredients rest, even for a whole day.
Take the mixture and add the flour, mixing with a little milk and, if desired, some liquid cream. You can also add a knob of butter, to soften the dough. Finally, add the baking powder and mix well.
Leave the ingredients to rest for about ten minutes, then divide the dough according to the number of baking pans you have. The baking pan should be greased with lard if possible, so the cake doesn’t burn and can be easily taken out of the pan. Make two cross-shaped incisions with a knife on the surface of the cake and bake at 200° for 1 hour and 1 ‘- 1 hour and 20’.
Ten minutes before it’s ready, take the baking pan out of the over and sprinkle the surface of the bread with the saba using a small brush, then put it back in the oven and finish cooking. The heat will allow the bread to absorb the saba and soften the dessert. Once the dessert is out of the oven brush it again with the saba.