Tuesday, May 06, 2008
BINGING ON BISCOTTI
I will never forget the first time I attempted to make biscotti. It was a disaster! Instead of achieving a light, slightly crunchy texture, everything ended up hard as rock. Only the flavour was agreeable but I was thankful that my Mom encouraged me not to give up. She also gamely finished the trial batch which I truly appreciate.
Happily, my subsequent attempt turned out better - thanks I suspect mainly to Rohani Jelani's recipe which appeared in a backdated issue of Flavours magazine. Having purchased several jars of Rohani's splendid biscotti before some years ago, I had never quite forgotten how nice they tasted. So I was estatic when I discovered her biscotti recipe! The results were so good, I actually made about a dozen canisters of them a week before Chinese New Year as pai nin giftaways. Not quite enough to go around so a small coterie of relatives and friends were the lucky beneficiaries.
For those who are game to try their hands at churning out a batch or two here's the recipe.
ROHANI'S ALMOND BISCOTTI
3 eggs (size A)
160 g caster sugar (the original recipe has it down as 200g but I used less)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (you can also use real vanilla flecks scraped from 1 vanilla pod - the flavour is fab! It's pricey though as 3 pods cost RM20)
50g ground almonds
200g whole almonds (I use skinned almonds but again these tend to be slightly pricier. You can also use hazelnuts or pistachios or even a mixture)
320g plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Spread whole almonds onto baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool thoroughly before using.
Stir ground almonds together with sifted flour. Then add in whole almonds and mix evenly. Divide mixture into three portions
Cream sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until light and frothy. Using a large sturdy spatula or metal spoon, fold each portion of the flour mixture into the egg and sugar batter. You should end up with a soft, sticky dough.
Dust your worktop, baking tray and hands with flour. Roll 1/4 of the dough mixture on the floured surface with your hands. Shape roughly into a log and place it onto the baking tray. Leave enough room in between for the dough to spread during baking.
Bake for 15 minutes. The logs should feel firm to the touch. If they are not, bake for another 5 minutes. After that, remove from oven and leave them to cool down.
Use a serrated knife to slice the logs thinly. Lay the slices on a clean, dry tray. Bake each side for 6-8 minutes depending on thickness. When done, remove and let the slices cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, be sure to store them in airtight containers.