This year Soph is raising money for Epilepsy Research UK, mostly from running the Bupa 10k, but also by having bake sales at work. For this week’s sale I’ve decided to make biscotti.
I like making biscotti as you get to do the twice-cooked process that gave rise to the term ‘biscuit’. And if you like that sort of thing, may I recommend The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language.
Like many of my bakes the basic recipe comes from BBC Good Food, but I use whatever dried fruit I have lying around, so today’s recipe is:
- 350g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- grated zest of 1 orange
- 85g dried cranberries
- 85g dried flame raisins
- 85g blanched almonds
- 85g shelled pistachios
This is one of those recipes ideal for using an electric mixture. Sod kneading nuts into a sticky dough – just bung it all in the mixture and out pops the dough!
So I start by putting the dry ingredients in the mixer and giving it a few whirls to mix them up.
Then I add the nuts and dried fruit and give it another quick mix.
Then I pour in the egg.
Now I start mixing. To start with it looks like there’s not nearly enough eggs to make a dough…
…but after a few minutes you get a nice sticky dough.
I split the dough into four parts; I actually weigh it to make sure they’re the same size and my estimating skills are atrocious. Then on a floured surface I roll out each ball to a long thin sausage the length of my baking tray, and put two sausages on each silicone sheet-lined baking tray.
After 25 minutes in the fan oven at 160c they go on the cooling rack for a few minutes, and the oven goes down to 140c:
Using a bread knife I cut each loaf at a 45 degree angel into 1cm strips. This can be a little fiddly, as the loaves are hot, and sometimes they tear a bit while trying to cut. Surprisingly though it’s easy to cut through the nuts, so you get that classic chopped nut look.
Then lie them all on their side on fresh silicone sheets (I do like having lots of silicone sheets for times like this) and it’s back in the oven for 15mins, then flip over each of them, and back in for another 15 minutes.
After their second cooking, it’s on to the cooling rack to cool into crisp biscotti.