I don’t really possess any talent – I mean real talent, world beating unique talent, so instead have to make do with the fact that I am possibly slightly better than average at most things I turn my hand to – aside from ice skating, crocheting, ironing, interior decorating…actually I’ll stop there as I may end up depressing myself at the steadily growing list of things I’m not very good at at all !
What I can do is cook…I have a belief that if you can follow a recipe book you can cook and as no-one I’ve cooked for has died from eating my food yet and in fact many have returned to sample even more I think the proof of my ability is in the pudding (or starter, or main, or cheese course).
Having visited a coffee house and delicious as they may be to dunk in your coffee, witnessed first hand the extortionate amount charged for a single sliver of Biscotti I vowed never to buy one again but instead learn how to make them at home.
I dug out a recipe that my wife had found when she made them once as gifts for Xmas to sit alongside the other presents we distributed and off I went on my Biscotti Adventure.
My initial food for thought after reading the recipe was being baked three times why are they called Biscotti and not Triscotti ? Anyway…
For those that want to follow here’s the ingredients:
350g/12oz Plain Flour (plus extra for rolling), 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 150g/9oz golden caster sugar, 3 beaten eggs, Coarsely grated zest of 1 orange, 85g/3oz raisins, 85g/3oz dried cherries, 50g/2oz blanched almonds, 50g/2oz shelled pistachios
And here is the recipe:
Heat oven to 180C/fan l 60C/gas 4. Line 2 baking sheets with some baking paper.
Put the flour, baking powder, spice and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the eggs and zest until the mixture starts forming clumps, then bring the dough together with your hands (it may seem dry at first but keep kneading until no floury patches remain). Add the fruit and nuts and work them in until evenly distributed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll each’ piece into a sausage about 30cm long. Place 2 on each tray, well spaced apart.
Bake for 25-30mins until the dough has risen and spread and feels firm. It should still look pale. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack for a few mins until cool enough to handle, then turn down the oven to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1.
Using a bread knife, cut into slices about 1 cm thick on the diagonal, then lay the slices flat on the baking sheets. Bake for another 15mins, turn over, then bake again for another 15mins until dry and golden.
Tip onto a wire rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight tin for up to one month, or pack into boxes or cellophane bags if giving as gifts.
Or if you are like me just grab yourself a coffee and start eating them straight away – yummy !