Biscotti – My New Best Friend

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Recently I’ve been making Biscotti until everyone in my family feels I’m becoming a little obsessed. Fixated I may appear to be, but really I’m just thrilled to find something that takes me back to Venice, drinking coffee in a sunny piazza, watching the glamorous world go by, or where I can pretend I’m hanging out in Bar Italia in Soho, so part of the cool crowd.

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And the great thing about Biscotti is it’s just so easy to make. Mix up the dough, chuck it in the oven. Slice up the baked bread and bake for a second time. That’s it. Nothing fiddly, no kneading, no waiting for the dough to rise. And even better, everyone seems incredibly impressed by it. Package it up and give it as a present and you’ve become a Domestic Goddess in your friend’s/Mother-in-law’s/Boss’s eyes.

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But of course, you don’t just have to drink this with coffee. A small glass of Masala or some cool Vin Santo is the perfect accompaniment, especially when you are sitting on your terrace in the Tuscany hills, soaking up the sun. Well… I can but pretend in my garden in Wiltshire.

Pistachio & Lemon Biscotti

This recipe has been adapted from one by the fabulous Ruby Tandoh in her book Crumb.

Makes approx. 12

125g/4 ½ oz Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
Pinch Salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
85g/3 ¼ oz Caster Sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
50g/2oz Pistachio kernals (unsalted)
50g/2oz Currants
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, currants and pistachio nuts and mix in. Add the egg & milk mixture and combine with the dry ingredients until you get a slightly sticky dough.

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Shape into a rough log shape approx. 25cm long and place onto the baking tray. Cook in the middle of the oven for 35 mins. Take the dough out of the oven and carefully cut into 2cm slices with a serated knife. Take care as if too rough you can cause the dough to crumble.

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Reduce the temperature of the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/Gas Mark 2. Lay the slices back onto the baking tray and bake for 10 mins, turn over and bake for a further 10 mins.

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Once cooked leave to cool on a wire wrack. Keep in an airtight tin.

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