I’ve heard it said there are two types of people in the world…Italians and those who want to be. I’m a wannabe. And, I think I do a pretty good job of it. I’ve been to Italy. I can ask where the bathroom is in Italian. I can order off an Italian menu with ease. However, I cannot cross a busy Roman intersection without a little help from friends or strangers. Thus, my status of wannabe. That being said, I cook like an Italian. According to my dear Italian friend, Elvi, my biscotti is wonderful. She is my official taste tester. She’s the one who taught me how to make quick and fresh tomato sauce and the notorious Fried Spaghetti.
I have a basic biscotti recipe that is changed only by the fruit, nut, flavoring, and spice combinations. This last weekend I did the Fig Walnut. It is perfect when dunked in coffee or hot tea. Not too sweet and spiced just right. Do not be afraid of the fig. Enjoy!
Fig Walnut Biscotti
1 cup dried, chopped figs
1 cup walnut pieces
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
grated zest of one orange
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 egg white, beaten, for brushing
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a pinch of ground nutmeg, mixed together in a small bowl. Make more if you like more on your biscotti.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Chop the figs and the nuts in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Use pulse setting because you do not want to end up with fig/walnut dust.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream the sugar, butter, orange zest, and eggs.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix just until blended. Add the fig/nut mixture mixing until evenly combined.
Divide the dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each piece into kind of a flat log about 1 inch thick. Make it about 3 or 4 inches wide. Place on baking sheet. Leave room between the logs for a bit of spreading.
Whisk the egg white until foamy and then brush on the tops and sides of both logs. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar mixture on each log. Bake 45 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. Maintain oven temperature. Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board, discard parchment. Using a serrated knife, cut logs on the diagonal into 1/2 inch wide slices.
Arrange the slices, like you are toasting bread, back onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. You do not want the biscotti to brown….just dry out a bit. Remove baking sheet from oven, turn each biscotti over and return to the oven for about 15 more minutes. Transfer biscotti to a rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with more of the sugar and cinnamon mixture while warm.
Can be frozen. Store in airtight container. Makes about 28.