“An ancient Italian Christmas recipe”

I am sure you know the Italian city of Modena for Balsamic Vinegar, Luciano Pavarotti, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. To the Italians, Modena is one of the culinary capital cities, home to the best food traditions and recipes. While most people only visit Bologna and maybe Parma as a day trip, Modena is worth its own exploration and it will definitely surprise you for its beauty and extraordinary gourmet food.

During the Christmas season, each family keeps the secret of a very personal Christmas Bread recipe. The main ingredients are always those: dried fruit, raisins, chocolate and Saba but they can vary the dosages and thus the final result. Today I propose the Modenese Christmas Bread recipe suggested by a friend.

*Saba is an Italian syrup made from cooking down grape must. It looks just like balsamic, and tastes a whole lot like it too, but it’s not nearly as expensive because it isn’t aged.


  • 1 kg. 1 di flour
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 400 white sugar
  • 250 butter
  • 250 figs
  • 100 almonds
  • 100 walnuts
  • 50 pinenuts
  • 100 peanuts
  • 100 dark chocolate
  • 100 di sweet powder chocolate
  • 150 candied fruit
  • 250 di Saba
  • 2 little bags of instant yeast for baking
  • For decoration: walnut, candied cherries and orange peel, almonds.


  • In a small pan, melt butter with dark chocolate over low heat
  • In a large bowl mix all the powders, add the eggs and melted chocolate with the butter
  • Start mixing, gradually diluting the dough with Saba; you should obtain a soft dough, but well blended
  • Add the candied fruit previously crumbled with a knife, the figs and dried fruit
  • Mix well with your hands in order to obtain a mixture with a soft but compact consistency. It must be a little bit softer than short pastry
  • Butter 12 rectangular aluminium moulds of 8 x 10 cm each
  • Divide the mixture between 12 moulds
  • Cook in a 160 ° ventilated oven for 30 minutes
  • Take them out and when they are still hot brush them with the Saba to finish
  • Let them cool down and set

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