Italy was one of the first European countries that I ever set foot in, at nineteen years old. I wrote so many stories in those streets – memories layered upon memories – and collected so many moments (a few of which are immortalised in the archives of my blog). Those moments are still with me and what I’m realising is that those stories are never quite over. The horizon never comes. Those moments, and us in them, are forever becoming.
There are moments that become crystalline, permanent. Thin, dying light refracts through them. They allow me to hop through time and shatter all that is linear about my being. And, with the state of international travel being what it is at the moment (read: practically prohibited), I relish the opportunity to catch echoes of those moments in the everyday rhythm of life. Sometimes, they meet me in the beautiful winter sunshine that streams through our kitchen windows.
Enter, biscotti. An Italian twice-baked biscuit that is traditionally dipped in a dessert wine (but is just as wonderful an accompaniment to your favourite hot beverage, cradled in your hands on a cold day).
I adore biscotti, and I particularly adore this one – the dense crumb laced with generous slivers of dark chocolate, roasted pistachio, orange zest and dustings of cardamom. I’ve experimented with several permutations over the years and this particular concoction is simply magic. Dipped in a smooth, steaming cup of coffee or tea (or even hot cocoa), the only thing that could make this biscotti better would be the opportunity to share it with those you love most. Preferably in Italy!
I recommend making a big batch and keeping the leftovers in an airtight container for those moments when you’re feeling peckish and have a cup of your favourite tea on hand (when working from home, always). I hope you enjoy this one, my loves.
DARK CHOCOLATE, ROASTED PISTACHIO & CARDAMOM BISCOTTI (makes 25-30 biscotti)
- 60 grams unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 110 grams caster sugar
- 100 grams brown sugar
- 2.5 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- A pinch of salt
- 3 eggs
- 1.5 tbsp orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 3 cups flour (I like to use a mix of AP and whole wheat or rye)
- 1/2 cup roasted pistachios (roughly chopped)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 200 grams dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
1. Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. In a the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Beat until well-combined.
3. Add the eggs, orange zest and vanilla. Beat until combined.
4. Using the paddle attachment, gradually add in and mix the flour.
5. Add the pistachios, cranberries and chocolate. Mix until evenly distributed. The dough will be thick and sticky.
6. Divide the dough into two halves. Shape each half into a long, flat rectangle and place them side-by-side on your lined baking tray.
7. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven but leave the oven on.
8. Allow the biscotti to cool for around 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the biscotti loaves into slices that are around 2cm wide.
9. Arrange the slices (cut-sides up) on the baking tray and return the tray to the oven, baking for a further 8-10 minutes.
10. Once they're golden and have finished baking, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely. As mentioned above, they're best enjoyed dipped in dessert wine or your favourite hot beverage.