14 November 2016

The Magic Biscotti Tin!

In the pub where I work there is a magic biscuit tin.  Every few days it is mysteriously replenished with delicious crunchy biscotti.  

A few days ago the secret was revealed to me. I met and got chatting to a lovely lady, a customer of the pub, Barbara by name. She admitted to secretly topping up our stash. What a lovely thing to do. We discussed biscotti further and I told her of the fig and black pepper biscotti I used to serve on my menus thus…
biscotti-with-blue-cheese

She asked for the recipe and I thought you might like it too, especially as they are somewhat Christmassy!

Fig and Black Pepper Biscotti – approx 24


240g plain flour
1 (possibly generous) teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
15g soft butter
30g caster sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg white
75g chopped dried figs

~   Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Stir together the first four ingredients.
~   Whisk together the butter and sugar.
~   Lightly beat the egg and the white into the butter mixture.
~   Stir in the dry mixture to form a loose dough.
~   Add the figs and knead together till smooth.
~   On a floured surface into a log about 30cm long.
~   Place onto a baking tray and flatten to about 1½cm high.
~   Bake for 20 minutes till golden and a little firm.
~   Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
~   Reduce the oven temperature to 150ºC/300°F/130ºC fan/gas 2.
~   When cool enough to handle slice the logs on the diagonal about 1cm thick.
~   Return to the baking tray, cut sides up, and cook for 15-20 minutes till crisp and golden, turning them over after about 10 minutes.
~   Cool on a rack.



If you fancy these for Christmas, they keep very well (see end of post for storage) so make them a week or two in advance.  I do lots of cooking ahead for Christmas, next Sunday is Stir up Sunday and here is my Christmas Cake recipe.  

Thinking about biscotti and having a collection of salted pecans in the cupboard, as one does, I decided to make …

Salted Pecan and Brown Sugar Biscotti – approx 16


250g soft light brown sugar
250g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
¼ teaspoon vanilla past or a few drips of vanilla extract
120g coarsely chopped roasted and salted pecans

~   Preheat oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Stir together the first three ingredients.
~   Lightly beat together the eggs and the vanilla.
~   Stir the dry into the wet and mix to a loose dough.
~   Add the pecans and knead into the dough.
~   Divide the dough into two parts and form two logs about 3cm diameter.
~   Lay onto a baking tray, somewhat apart, and lightly flatten to 1½cm high.
~   Bake for about 25 minutes till a slightly firm on the outside and taking a little colour.
~   Remove from the oven and set aside to cool and firm up a little.
~   Lower the oven heat to 160ºC/325°F/140ºC fan/gas 3.
~   Carefully slice the logs on the diagonal about 1cm thick.
~   Lay cut side up on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, turn the biscotti over and cook a further 10 minutes or so till crisp and golden.

Here is me dunking a single biscotto!



Biscotti Information


Biscotti literally means twice cooked. They originate from ancient ltaly where, due to their excellent keeping quality, they were used as convenient food for travellers.  Pliny the Elder apparently said biscotti …

“would be edible for centuries.”

In Italy they are actually called cantucci; biscotti being a term for biscuits in general (although not biscuits of the American persuasion!).

Being Italian biscotti are traditionally dunked in Italian dessert wine, Vin Santo but are also great dipped in tea, coffee, hot choc or, depending on the biscotti, even mulled wine.
how-to-store-biscotti-suzy-bowler


Biscotti Storage 


Make sure your biscotti are utterly, utterly cold then store them in an airtight container, where they should be good, if not for centuries, at least for a couple of weeks or so.

If they are softening pop them back into a medium hot oven for a few minutes resulting in Triscotti!!


News from the future …

One day a week I spend sorting books that have been donated to Cornwall Hospice care – I love it.  Recently they published a book of their own, The Great Cornish Cake Bake Cake Book (A collection of favourite recipes and the memories behind them) and the recipe I contributed was this biscotti recipe. 





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