These little biscuits are found in bakeries along the coast of Le Marche, Italy; mounds of nutty pastry studded with rum-soaked sultanas.
- 2 eggs
- 140 g (5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 330 g (11¾ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 scant tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 80 g (2¾ oz) butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 25 g (1 oz) hazelnuts, toasted, finely chopped
- 25 g (1 oz) natural almonds, toasted, finely chopped, plus extra whole almonds to decorate
- 25 g (1 oz) walnuts, finely chopped
- 40 g (1½ oz) sultanas (golden raisins) soaked in grappa for at least 30 minutes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F) and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- Beat together the eggs and sugar in a bowl, then add the flour, baking powder, salt and butter and combine energetically using a whisk. (You could also do this with a food processor.) Add the vanilla, nuts and drained sultanas and stir until well combined. The mixture will be quite thick.
- Form the dough into walnut-sized balls, then flatten them slightly and press a whole almond into the top of each one. Place them on the prepared trays, leaving plenty of room for spreading, and bake for 20–22 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. The biscotti will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days.
Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00