Thursday, 14 February 2008

Italian Cookery Course: Apricot and Almond Cantucci Biscotti

I don't usually do sweet things - and had definitely never made biscotti before. But when I missed last week's Italian cookery class, I decided I would try all the recipes that I missed.

It turns out that biscotti is just Italian for biscuit - not specifically for the hard, crunchy dunking biscuits that appear to be universally known by that name. These twice-baked snacks are actually cantucci or cantuccini!

They turned out to be very easy to make... and even easier to eat!

Apricot and Almond Cantucci Biscotti
This recipe is adapted from the one I was given at my Italian cookery course by Francis Adou.
  • 250g caster sugar, plus a couple of tbsps more for sprinkling!
  • 250 Italian 00 flour, sifted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 115g unpeeled almonds
  • 115g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg yolk for the glaze
Preheat the oven to 150c and line two baking sheets with greased greaseproof paper.

Using a mixer, whisk the sugar, eggs and orange blossom water for about 5 minutes until its thick, creamy, and almost mousselike.

Sift the flour , bicarbonate of soda and salt into the egg mixture and fold in. Add the almonds and apricot to form a sticky dough. Make sure it's well blended, but don't over work!

Turn out the mixture onto a well floured surface - I was surprised by how easily it stayed together - it seemed very sticky in the bowl, but once it hit the flour it came together very well.

Shape the dough into 2 sausage shapes and place onto the baking sheets.

Beat the egg yolk and brush over the surface of each sausage. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the biscotti for 30 minutes until slightly risen and golden brown. Take out of the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Don't let it get too cold, or the almonds will not cut well - I left mine for 10 minutes and it cut fine.

Turn down to oven to 120c

Gently move the biscotti onto a cutting board and cut into slices about 1 inch wide. Arrange slices on the baking tray (on greaseproof paper) and return to the oven. Bake for another 20 minutes, transfer onto a wire tray and leave to cool and harden.

Serve dunked into strong Italian coffee!

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