It’s a very hot Saturday afternoon – one of those afternoons when it is much more appealing to stay indoors with the air conditioning than venture outside. Having completed my obligatory domestic duties, I decide to watch some television and (surprise, surprise) find myself clicking on to the Lifestyle Food channel. There is Paul Hollywood kneading dough. Watching the kneading process is almost as calming as doing it yourself.
As well as making bread, Paul also makes biscotti – a trio of flavours in fact. I am inspired. We love our coffee and it is always great to have something sweet to have with it. I try to make cakes only when we have visitors because otherwise, as my husband points out, “you’ll only end up eating it all”! Biscotti then are perfect – small serves and they keep well so don’t have to be consumed all at once.
I do not have the exact flavourings to hand that Paul used so decide to use my own combination of pistachio nuts and lemon. One of the great things about biscotti is it’s versatility of flavourings – you can just about add any combination that you like to the basic biscotti recipe although I do think it definitely needs a nut in there of some kind. Anyway, here is my version using Paul’s basic biscotti recipe – very yummy and a good excuse to have another cup of coffee!
Pistachio & Lemon Biscotti
250gm plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
250gm caster sugar
2-3 medium eggs, beaten
Pistachio and lemon flavouring:
200gm shelled pistachio nuts
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Heat your oven to 140°C (or 160°C for a non-fan oven, which is a better option for this recipe if available). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together in a bowl. Stir in the beaten eggs, a little at a time, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Continue until you have a firm dough – it may not be necessary to add all of the egg. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky.
Now add your flavouring. Roughly chop the pistachio nuts and add them to the biscotti dough with the lemon zest. Mix the flavouring ingredients in with your hands until they are evenly incorporated.
Turn the biscotti dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently, then divide in half. Roll each piece of dough into a long log, about 4cm in diameter. Place both logs on your lined baking tray, spacing them at least 5cm apart as the mixture will spread a bit. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
Leave the logs to cool on the tray for 10 minutes to allow the dough to firm up slightly, then transfer to a board. Cut the logs, on the diagonal, into 2-3cm thick slices with a serrated edge knife and place the slices, cut side up, on the baking tray. Return to the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the biscotti are dry through to the centre, turning them over halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
The biscotti will keep well in an airtight container.