Thursday, December 23, 2010

The story of the fresh hog, fresh cranberry scones, & bonbons au chocolat

Leigh, the owner of the Bull Run, the farm I receive CSA from, offers a number of specials during the CSA season including opportunities to purchase raw cheese, local honey, and meat. Couple month before Thanksgiving, Leigh sent CSA members an email asking if anyone would be interested in purchasing a whole or a half hog from a local farmer, who raised grass fed hogs. Fear of having to store over 50 pounds of pork in my freezer stopped me from signing up for this deal right away. Within a week, I recruited eight friends with a weakness for good meat to share half a hog. So a day after Thanksgiving, my sister and I hopped on the road to pick up 80 pounds of glorious pork from Fauquier's Finest Country butcher shop, in Virginia. The butcher did an amazing job packing and sorting the meat. All I had to do was to stack the vacuum-sealed meat blocks in my freezer like Tetris.

Instead, I decided to make candy with none of the traditional caramel/toffee mess. The inspiration for the recipe came from store-bought candies that are very popular back home. Based on the reviews I received from my colleagues, these bonbons will soon become popular in the States too.

Dried fruit and nuts bonbons au chocolat
20 dried apricots
20 dried prunes
10 dried figs
20 salted and roasted almonds
20 roasted whole walnuts
20 salted and roasted pistachios
2 tbsp cinnamon
4 lightly crushed cloves
16 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate

Pre-heat the oven to 250F.
Bring three pots of water to simmer. In the first pot, dissolve the spices and add apricots. In the second pot, add figs and prunes. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the fruit “puffs” and softens. Remove the fruits from the liquid, spread on the baking sheep, pat dry, and stick in the oven for 5-7 minutes until the skins are dry. Cool the fruits.
In the third pot, melt the chocolate in a water bath stirring constantly with the spatula. Line a large cutting board with a plastic wrap.
Using kitchen scissors make a small cut in each fruit and insert 1-2 nuts inside (I stuffed apricots with almonds, prunes with walnuts, and dates with pistachios).
With chopsticks or tweezers, dip each stuffed apricot into the chocolate, making sure the entire fruit is well coated with chocolate. Gently shake off excess chocolate and place the bonbon on the cutting board lined with a plastic wrap. Continue with the rest of the fruit. Refrigerate the bonbons until the chocolate is firm for 15-20 minutes.
Compliment the bonbons with a cup of tea or coffee.


  1. A glass of dry champagne or a bottle of duchesse de bourgogne beer ( would be good to compliment these chocolates as well.

  2. Thank you for the pairing suggestion and a link. I would go with champaign during the holiday season.

  3. Thanks for sharing the secret to making this deliciousness. I might have to make them this New Year for my family.