Biscotti are twice-baked Italian biscuits that you can enjoy any time — delicious with morning coffee, afternoon tea or as an impressive petit four to complete a gourmet dinner.
The addition of pistachio nuts gives them great colour and texture — for best value, buy unshelled and shell them yourself. The origin of biscotti dates back to Roman times when sailors discovered that if they baked their bread twice so that it was hard, it would keep better on long voyages.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes
250g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs, beaten
200g pistachio nuts, shelled weight
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
125g dried figs, roughly chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
Mix together the flour, sugar, vanilla essence and baking powder. Add the eggs gradually — you may not need it all as a stiff dough is what is required.
Knead in the pistachio nuts, lemon zest and juice and chopped figs. Divide the dough into six. Roll into sausage shapes about 2.5 cm/1 inch in diameter then flatten slightly.
Place on a baking tray, spaced well apart and bake for 25 minutes or until pale golden. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C. Using a serrated knife and cutting at an angle, cut each sausage into thin slices. Lay the slices flat on the baking tray and cook for a further 10 minutes or until dry and firm.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.