The week between Christmas and New Year – a time for pootling about and trying new stuff that I wouldn’t normally have the time to do. So I’ve had a crack at making biscotti, to be dipped in vin santo (or Pedro Ximenez sherry, or a dessert wine). You can dip them in coffee or hot chocolate too.
- 150g almonds with the skin on
- 250g granulated sugar
- Grated zest of a lemon
- 250g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 3 small ones)
- Icing sugar for dusting
Heat the oven to 200 degrees C or gas mark 6. Put the almonds on a baking tray and bake for five minutes, then take them out and chop them very roughly when they have cooled down a bit.
While the almonds are in the oven, you have the time to weigh out the rest of the ingredients. Start with the sugar, then grate the lemon zest into it and mix well. Then add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix that well. Beat the 2 eggs in a separate bowl, then stir them into the mix too, along with the almonds. Stir it all together until it forms a dough. It will be quite sticky.
Sift some icing sugar onto a worktop. Split the dough into two and roll each part into a sausage just long enough to put onto a baking tray – this will be about 5cm in diameter. Make sure the two sausages are well separated as they will spread a lot on the tray. Bake for about 20 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven and reduce the heat to about 150 degrees C. After about 10 minutes of cooling down, slide the now flattened sausages onto a chopping board and use a sharp bread knife to cut them into diagonal slices about 1cm in width. This is a bit of a guessing game – if you leave them to cool for too long they’ll be difficult to cut, and if they are too hot you’ll squash them.
Put the slices back on the baking tray and put them back in the oven for 15 minutes – take them out, turn them over and put back in for another 15 minutes. When you take them out for the final time, put them on a wire rack to cool down completely. You can them put them in an airtight biscuit tin. They should keep for at least a month.