What's your favourite biscuit, if you have one? I have always adored biscotti (a.k.a. cantuccini), with pistachio and cranberry being my number one pick of flavours. Some of the store-bought varieties are so amazingly firm that they can only be eaten if first dunked in tea or coffee, hence I prefer to bake my own. Although, having said that, whenever I can find Mother Meg's brand locally, I will pick up a pack or two, as they are delicious little morsels.
Good biscotti are as light as air and should be flavoursome and moreish, but not too sweet. So, onto the recipe for pistachio and cranberry biscotti, which I have adapted from The AWW Cooking School cookbook. I plan to experiment with other flavours in coming weeks and also hope to further perfect this recipe, perhaps with the addition of Herbie's orange peel pieces and substituting the pistachios for almonds. Watch this space.
As always, please use only the freshest ingredients and best quality butter and vanilla extract; and don't bake the biscotti for too long, unless you have adequate medical benefits cover and/or enjoy going to the dentist!
PISTACHIO AND CRANBERRY BISCOTTI
60g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extractfinely chopped zest of one lemon
1 cup vanilla infused caster sugar
2 free range eggs
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (bicarb)
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
1 extra egg whisked with a tablespoon of water, for brushing
2 tablespoons extra caster sugar, to finish
Combine the butter, vanilla extract, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a mixer and beat until combined. Beat in the two eggs. Then fold in the flour, bicarb, cranberries and pistachio nuts. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour. Chilling the dough makes it easier to work with.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead it gently until it forms a smooth ball (I sprinkled just a little more flour onto the dough, as it was still a little sticky). Cut the ball in half and form it into two 12-inch (30 cm) logs, which you place onto a lined baking sheet. Brush the logs with the whisked egg and water mixture. Now sprinkle with the extra caster sugar and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and just firm. Remove from the oven and allow the dough to cool slightly.
Turn the oven temperature down to 160 degrees C. With a serrated knife, slice the logs into one cm (1 cm or thinner if you prefer) biscotti pieces and pop them back onto the lined baking sheet. Bake a second time for around 10 minutes. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container. Depending on the width of your 'logs', this quantity will make between 24 and 40 biscotti. Should they last so long, they will keep well for about a week.
The process in pictures...
Try stopping at just one of these delicious morsels...
Do you have a favourite biscuit? Do tell me, what is it? Would you like to share your recipe with my readers?
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