I have a complicated relationship with biscotti. On the one hand, I love baking them (and eating them) but on the other hand, listening to people say ‘oh wow these biscotti are SO hard!’ makes me want to throw the aforementioned hard biscuits at their heads. Yes, biscotti are hard. That’s kind of the point. They’re twice baked and made to be dunked – traditionally in vin santo, but they’re also delicious dunked in coffee (or if you’re a coffee hater like me, hot chocolate, where they’re perfect for scooping out your melted marshmallows). I’ve made spiced chocolate and pistachio biscotti by adding a little Christmassy spice and using chocolate chunks and pistachio nuts, but feel free to keep it traditional with almonds, or add some dried fruit.
Spiced chocolate and pistachio biscotti
You will need:
250g plain flour
250g caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice (I use Steenberg’s pumpkin pie mix – it smells divine)
1 tsp baking powder
100g shelled pistachios, left whole
150g dark chocolate, chopped
So mix together all the dry ingredients, as well as the pistachios and chocolate chunks. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then add about half in to the dry ingredients and mix, then add the rest dribble by dribble, stirring until it starts to come together into a firm dough. You might not need all the egg so don’t bung it all in at once.
Squish the dough into a big fat sausage (you might need some extra flour here – mine was slightly too soft), then place your sausage onto a non-stick baking tray (or use a non-stick baking liner). The size really is up to you. We are greedy and like massive biscotti, but to make smaller biscotti, make two sausages, but keep them apart in the oven, because they will spread a bit. You can also cut them a bit thinner so they’re more delicate.
Bake at gas mark 5/190 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Then allow them to cool until you can handle them.
Now cut your biscotti into thin slices (they’re too hard to bite if they’re too thick) at an angle, and arrange them back on a baking tray, cut side up, to dry out completely in a very low oven (gas 1/2, about 120/130 degrees ) for about 1 hour 30 minutes (keep an eye on them – if they start to get too brown, take them out). Allow them to cool.
After they’re cooled they keep really well in a plastic box or a cake tin. They also make lovely gifts. Serve with something to dunk, and have one ready to hurl at anyone who points out how hard they are. And be warned, if you’re not dunking, you do run the risk of cracking your teeth!
PS: If you’re wondering about my beautiful speckled plates and bowls, they’re called Halo by Denby. I’m absolutely besotted by the whole range.