Tuesday 3 January 2012

Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti with a hint of Clementine

I love baking a small selection of goodies to give as gifts to friends and family over Christmas. Biscotti are one of my favourite things to bake and give as they are very versatile and keep longer than most other types of cookie. This is good as it means you can bake them a few days in advance so don’t have to run around in a panic on Christmas Eve. Also, as they are crisp and dry they keep well for several weeks meaning the recipient doesn’t have to worry about eating them straight away. I have found in the past that if you give short life products as gifts over Christmas they often get past their best before being eaten as there is always so much other food on offer that they can get overlooked. With biscotti, they will still be happily waiting patiently when rediscovered in January after all the trifles, puddings and chocolates have been devoured and you are in need of something a little simpler and yet just as tasty. It’s biscotti to the rescue!

I used a mix of dried cranberries and shelled pistachios in my biscotti as I love the contrasting scattering of Christmas colours these add to the dough. To make them extra festive I flavoured the dough with the zest of a clementine and some ginger which added just subtle zesty overtones.

You only need 4 or 5 biscotti tied in a little cellophane bag with a ribbon to make a lovely handmade gift. It makes for a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Much better than fighting through the crowds over Christmas or the New Year sales.

Biscotti are of course perfect any time of year, not just for Christmas and recently I’ve taken to always having some on hand for when the munchies strike. Crisp and crunchy yet studded with a whole assortment of different nuts, fruits, spices, chocolates etc. The possibilities are endless!

Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti with a hint of Clementine
Recipe loosely based on a recipe from Leiths Baking Bible
200-230g gluten free flour (I used Doves brand, a mix of rice, maize, potato, buckwheat and tapioca flours)
55g fine ground cornmeal/polenta
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
40g dried cranberries
30g shelled pistachios
Zest of 1 clementine
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Heat the oven to 180C. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone sheet.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, ginger and zest of the clementine together until well combined.
Add the cranberries and shelled pistachios and stir briefly.
Scatter 200g flour, cornmeal and bicarbonate of soda over the top and mix it all together using a spatula. It should be quite soft and sticky, add the remaining 30g of flour if you think its too sticky to work with.
Wet your hands before transferring the dough to the lined baking tray and shaping into a thick long log shape.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until puffed and lightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven, dampen a tea towel or jay cloth (it should not be too wet) and drape over the top of the biscotti and leave for 10 minutes (this keeps the top soft and makes slicing easier)
After 10 minutes, remove the towel and slice the biscotti into 1cm slices on the diagonal.
Arrange the slices back on the baking tray, laying them flat.
Bake in the oven for a further 10 minutes before filling them over and baking for a further 5 minutes until crisp. Transfer the slices to a wire rack to cool.
Store in an airtight container or wrap in bags as gifts. Keeps well for around 3 weeks.
Makes around 25 biscotti


Chele said...

Great recipe. I'll be book marking this for Girl's hamper for next Christmas! Thanks for sharing ;0)

Choclette said...

These look so pretty and quite festive with the red and green. I think biscotti make excellent gifts. As you say they look good, taste good and keep for ages - what could be better?

Wishing you a very happy & healthy New Year

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

What a lovely festive gift! It is true- it is tricky finding homemade foodie gifts that last for more than a few days...thank you for the inspiration! I too will be bookmarking these!

Johanna GGG said...

those flavours sound lovely - I am curious about if you are making them for GF folk or if you just don't make gluten baking any more

Katie said...

Hi Johanna,

It depends what I'm baking for other people. Some things work better at being converted to GF than others. As biscotti are naturally crisp and brittle they can be made GF without anyone knowing. If I was baking someone a birthday cake to serve lots of non GF people then I'd bake them a normal flour containing cake.

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

Thanks, I thought it would be fun to bake something new! I bet your family and friends love receiving Christmas presents from you if they look as yummy as these!

girls who like to gorge said...

These look great! And congratulations on your magazine feature!x

Caroline said...

They look great. I love biscotti and as you say, it's so helpful that they keep well. You've reminded me that I haven't made any for ages. Must rectify that. I have a recipe already, but it's quite sweet so I might try yours instead!

Lisa said...

This is one of my favorite biscottis. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your biscotti up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2012/01/sweets-for-saturday-51.html

The Caked Crusader said...

These look lovely - and packed with lots of tasty nuggets...like jewels!

zazacook said...

Oh my! These look and sound amazing! Thank you for this lovely recipe :)