The Italians have a delicious hard biscuit called Biscotti,
which usually contains nuts and or various kinds of dried
fruit. The word Biscotti means twice baked and refers to
the fact you bake Biscotti in a loaf shape, slice it
on an angle and then bake it some more to crisp it off.
In different regions of Italy, biscotti are prepared or flavoured differently. In Tuscany they are often eaten with a sweet dessert wine called vin santo, though in other parts of the world (particularly the United States) biscotti are considered an essential part of the espresso bar experience.
250g/10oz plain flour
200g/8oz caster sugar
1½ tsp baking power
2 medium eggs,well beaten
1 whisked egg white
75g/3oz dried black cherries, roughly chopped
100g/4oz whole hazelnuts (shelled but skin on)
1. Preheat the oven 180 C gas mark 4.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients, then slowly stir in the 2 beaten egg mixture and fold the nuts and cherries in.
3. Stir in enough of the whisked egg white to make a dough.
4. Dusk your hands in flour then roll the mixture into 4 sausage shape loaves and place on a baking tray lined
with parchment and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Cool for 2-3 minuesr then slice the loaves on an angle and turn the oven down to 140C gas mark 2-3
6. Place the slices on the baking tray and brown lightly in the centre of the oven, turn over and repeat the process.
*Remember you're trying to crisp the biscotti slices up more than brown them off.
4 large peaches
2 vanilla pods
3 cups water
1 1/3 cup caster sugar
peel of 1 orange
peel of 1 lemon
1 small bay leaf
Quality Vanilla Ice Cream
1. Use a sharp knife and make a crisscross on each peach and blanch for 30 seconds in boiling water,then chill.
2. Under cold water peel off the skin.
3. Put all the water, sugar, vanilla pods peel of lemon and orange, bay leaf and peppecorns and bring to simmer and cook for 3
4. Remove everything fom the syrup except the vanilla pods and the gently lower the peaches in.
5. Poach 15-20 on a very low simmer until the peaches are tender but not too soft.
6. Gently remove the peaches from the syrup and allow to cool.
7. Turn the heat up on the syrup a little and reduce by half and then cool.
350g /14oz Fresh cherries
200ml poaching syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
50/2oz dried cherries
2 Tbsp Cherry Jam
1tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1. Destone the cherries and reserve
2. Put the syrup, jam and dried cherries into a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer.
3. Mix the lemon juice with the cornflour and then stir briskly into the simmering sauce until thicken then turn the heat
down to low and add the cherries.
4.Simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the heat and cover the pan with a lid.
Dust 12 slices of the Biscotti slices with icing sugar. Carefully cut the peaches in half and remove the stones.Place two peach halves in a glass then top with a scoop of vanilla icecream and serve the warm cherry sauce on the side.
The biscotti recipe makes plenty of spare so leftover slices can be kept in an airtight tin.
It's important when poaching fruit not to use items that are very ripe, but rather slightly firm.
The syrup can keep in the fridge for several weeks or can be frozen and used later.
A special big thank you to the people at the German hotel china company Schonwald, who very kindly sent me the spoon shaped dishes along with some other pieces a while ago. If you're a chef or restauranteur and are not familiar with Schonwald, I recommend you check them out.