As yesterday's recipe was a pickle and one you can make well in advance of Christmas, I also wanted to post a recipe for a little sweet treat and something that will need to be made nearer the time.
That said here are a couple of ways you can prepare this recipe in advance. Firstly you could make the biscotti as much as a month before Christmas and keep them in a well sealed airtight container where they should stay crisp. This means just before you are about to give them as gifts you can pop them into jars or pretty bags and tie up with ribbon. Secondly you could make the recipe up to the point of cooking the biscuit dough for the first time, and once cooled wrap it in cling film and pop it in the freezer. When you are ready to cook the biscotti you can defrost the loaf before slicing it and cooking the biscuits for a second time. You could also slice the biscuits and layer them on a baking tray with parchment in between and freeze, so they just need to defrost and be cooked a second time.
This delicious recipe for pine nut & rosemary biscotti is taken from a lovely little book Biscotti: Recipes from the kitchen of the American Academy in Rome (Rome Sustainable Food Project) by Mona Talbott & Mirella Misenti. With its roots in Chez Panisse, the AAR kitchen has become a flagship model for sustainable dining and in the true spirit of Christmas money raised from their series of books helps to fund their Internship programme.
Pine nut & rosemary biscotti
110g pine nuts, toasted
175g plain flour
10g fine polenta
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
138g granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
Combine the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt and rosemary in a medium sized mixing bowl.
Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well until incorporated. Change to a low speed and add the Marsala. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in two parts and then gently fold in the pine nuts until evenly combined. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and divide in two.On a floured surface form each portion into a log 2.5cm in diameter. Transfer the logs to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes.
Once cooled transfer the logs to a chopping board and cut into 1cm slices with a sharp serrated knife. Lay the biscotti flat on baking trays lines with parchment paper and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.
These biscotti will keep well in a sealed container for up to 1 month.
* The recipe describes the shaping and cooking process for a small round biscuit. To achieve the more traditional biscotti shape as pictured above, I firstly shaped the dough into one large loaf shape which then took more like 30 minutes to cook, before cooling thenslicing it as thinly as possible and cooking again as above.
* *This recipe is an exact replica of the original with the exception of all ingredients being shown in metric measurement and several item names being changed for British readers such as cookie tray changed to baking tray.