Monday 30th

Almond and pine nut biscotti

I don’t often make pudding or dessert. I am much more likely to buy a piece of cheese, a big bunch of grapes , a bar of dark chocolate (at present this) and make a batch of these crisp, double baked, almond and pine nut biscotti to be dipped or dunked in an espresso or even better in a glass of the Tuscan dessert wine Vin Santo.

We always make sure to save a few for the next day. They are very good for breakfast dipped in milky coffee and maybe even better, at about 11 o clock with an injection of espresso.

I love the wave of aniseed the fennel seeds lend to these biscotti, but I know it’s a quite particular flavour that can provoke strong opinions and reactions. If you are not a fan, leave the fennel seeds out.

Almond and pinenut biscotti (cantucci)

Adapted from Rowley Leigh’s recipe in No place like home

makes about 25 biscotti

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100g blanched almonds chopped very coarsely
  • 75g Italian pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 200°/400f

Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except the eggs. Mix well.

Add the beaten eggs and using your hands bring all the ingredients together into a ball of firm dough making sure the nuts are well-distributed. Cut the ball in half.

Shape both halves into a roll of dough about 4cm in diameter and place them both on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Bake the rolls for 15 minutes by which time the dough will have spread and is still soft in the middle.

Take the biscuits out of the oven and lower the oven to 170°/330F

Let the rolls cool a little and then carefully lift/slide them onto a cutting board and with a sharp serrated knife cut them – on a slight diagonal if necessary – into roughly 8cm long 8mm wide slices.

Put the slices back, lined up like soldiers on the baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and put them back in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 15 minutes. The biscuits will be dry, firm and crisp.

Cool the biscuits on a wire rack and then store them in an airtight tin.


Filed under biscuits and biscotti, food, recipes

13 responses to “Monday 30th

  1. When should I expect to see my tin? 😉

    • rachel

      You can collect it directly from Testaccio Rome x

      • Until we get to Rome…I made these last night. Except, I had to substitute almonds (no almonds) with pecans. Roberto said they tasted like sausage…because of the fennel…we have a local sausage maker—on our street—that makes spicy Italian sausage with fennel. However, I thought they tasted like biscotti perfumed with fennel (which I liked very much). I also had to add a third egg. I think this was due to my conversions from grams to cups and so forth. Next time I promise to be true to the recipe and use almonds and perhaps omitting the fennel so as not to get the spicy sausage comment.

      • rachel

        Oh sorry Roberto, I do worry about these things.
        Anyway I love that you made them and even more that you are reporting back.
        I should really start doing my recipes in cups as well and specify egg size
        (I am a bit wishy washy.)
        I am considering your mousse saturday, will report back x

      • I think our eggs were running small this week (they’re usually pretty big)…I even think I babbled to myself ‘these eggs seem smaller than usual’ while I was making the dough.

        I can email the mousse recipe in it’s proper form if you like…

      • rachel

        yes please

  2. Rach

    These look SO good, and very christmassy – however, I’m allergic to nuts 😦 and I’m struggling to find a biscotti recipe that is nut-free. Do you think the nuts in this recipe could be subsituted easily for chocolate chips or dried cranberries or something? Have you played around with the ingredients before? x

    • rachel

      I have never made a nut free biscotti but I have eaten them in Tuscany and they were really good, I seem to remember
      they had lots of orange zest and honey as well – I am going to ask my Tuscan friend for some advice.

  3. Okay, enough procrastination! I cannot tell you how long I’ve been promising myself some homemade biscotti. Do you think this is a good recipe for a biscotti making virgin?

    • rachel

      oh yes it’s a perfect recipe for your first time, my first batch were my best ever. One more thing
      the mixture can be a bit sticky but I’ve been assured that’s normal.
      happy biscotti to you

  4. these look so rustic – god i wish more places around here sold REAL biscotti. dipping into vin santo – classic. now i need some of these biscotti and a new bottle of vin santo.

  5. my kind of biscotti
    hold the butter

    decent vin santo is so damn expensive in the usa

  6. i made these last night. gorgeous.

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