Sunday 24 June 2012

Spiced Fig & Walnut Biscotti Bites

I’m not really much of a biscuit/cookie lover. Given the choice I would always choose cake over cookies, but every so often I fancy something crisp and crunchy and biscotti are always my biscuits of choice.

I usually make biscotti by shaping them into one thick log that I slice after baking. However, I was having a sort out in my room and rediscovered my éclair tin that I once used for baking little cakes in, and never again since. The rounded log shaped hollows got me wondering if it would be possible to make mini biscotti logs in each of the hollows in order to create smaller, more dainty biscotti slices. Only one way to find out!

The tin actually worked perfectly and made it very easy to shape and bake the sticky biscotti dough. The resulting logs were then easy to slice into equal sized slices which made for very cute little biscotti bites.

I had some dried figs and a few broken pieces of walnut to use up and decided to pair these together with lots of warming spices. Cinnamon is my spice of choice, but I was in an experimental mood and so used ground cardamom, cloves and a little mixed spice instead.

The spices gave a wonderful colour to the dough and made the finished biscotti smell and taste a bit like an exotic gingerbread or Christmas cake, warming, comforting but just a little bit different. The figs added a nice chew as well as sweetness and crunch from their little crunchy seeds. I liked munching on them just as they are, but I bet they would be great served with some cheese too, either as nibbles with drinks or for something a bit different to have after dinner.

If you don’t have an éclair tin I’m sure you could use a muffin tin and cut them vertically into slices instead, or just make the traditional big log shape. This recipe doesn’t make a lot of dough, so you may want to double the quantities if making traditional biscotti.

Spiced Fig & Walnut Biscotti Bites
1 egg
50g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
90g soft, ready to eat dried figs
40g walnuts
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g gluten free plain flour (I used Doves Farm)
30g fine yellow cornmeal (not cornflour)

MethodHeat the oven to 180C. Have an éclair tin ready to hand, or else line a baking tray with silicone paper.
Beat the egg, sugar and vanilla extract together until combined, but it doesn’t want to go foamy.
Roughly chop the walnuts and dried figs into small chunks and add to the bowl along with the spices. Stir briefly.
Scatter the flour, cornmeal and bicarbonate of soda over the top and mix it all together using a spatula. It should be quite thick, soft and sticky.
Wet your hands before dividing the dough into 4 pieces and rolling each one into a log shape. Place in the hollows of the éclair tin, or place onto the lined baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until puffed and lightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven, tap the logs out the tin and place onto a chopping board. Dampen a tea towel (it should not be too wet) and drape over the top of the biscotti and leave for 5 minutes (this keeps the top soft and makes slicing easier – my own discovered tip!)
After 5 minutes, slice the biscotti into 1cm slices on the diagonal.
Arrange the slices onto a baking tray, laying them flat.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes before flipping the slices over and baking for a further 5 minutes. Once baked, transfer the slices to a wire rack to cool.
Store in an airtight container. Keeps well for around 3 weeks!
Make great gifts, packed in little boxes or bags.
Makes around 20 mini biscotti


Suelle said...

What an inspired idea to get such elegant little biscotti. I love the flavour combination too.

Unknown said...

Such a cute idea. I've never seen a pan like that, but it reminds me of Twinkies

Paloma said...

Great idea!!! I love biscotti!