Panpepato - Peppered Bread
This is panpepato. A peppered bread from Italy. I admit that I had never heard of it until I stumbled across a recipe in an old Delicious magazine. I was on a search for foodie inspiration and I found it.
Marsala and raisins and figs and cocoa. That on its own is enticing. Add the unusual twist of pepper and then serve it with sharp cheese. How could I not try it. My mum packed little tubs of diced dried apricots, cheese and sultanas in my school lunchbox. I've never considered the dried fruit on a cheese board to be a garnish.
This panpepato recipe is pretty simple. Mine came out much softer and stickier than I think it should be. It was not particularly breadlike. Maybe more flour next time. The consistency didn't subtract from the taste though. I loved it.
The original recipe uses walnuts, which I loathe. So I used almonds instead. I also think it could stand more pepper as it comes across as quite a subtle hot aftertaste if you see what I mean. It's really a matter of taste.
The recipe calls for it to be served with crumbled parmesan reggiano. But really it goes perfectly with any sharp dry cheese. I have served it here with a sheeps milk cheese. I would give you the name if only I knew it. I buy it at the farmer's market from a refrigerated van stall run by an elderly gentlemen with a strong eastern european accent. Every time I ask what it is but I have never managed to catch it yet. I think it starts with a C or a K. Not much help I know. All I can tell you is that it goes perfectly and is delicious.
(adapted from Delicious Magazine May 2005)
Soak 1/2 cup raisins in 1/4 cup dry marsala overnight. Place raisins and soaking liquid in a bowl and add 200g of toasted almonds, 1 tspn of cinnamon, 50g of chopped dried figs, 100g of chopped candied peel and 1 tspn of ground black pepper. Sift over 1/3 cup flour and 11/2 tbspn of cocoa.
Melt 2 tbspn of unsalted butter over low heat together with 150gm of caster sugar and 4 tbspn of honey. Mix into dry ingredients.
Pour mixture into a lined 8cm x 25cm bar pan or 20cm round tin and flatten. Bake in a 150C oven for 20 minutes. Cool completely and slice thinly. Serve with parmesan reggiano or another sharp dry cheese.