Fruit & Nut Biscotti

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

This recipe is from Katherine Smyth, a fellow New Zealander, who came across it while cooking in Sydney, Australia. She is a great friend, a terrific chef and a brilliant potter. Many of the plates and bowls in the illustrations were made by her especially for the book. I first met Kath in New Zealand when the original Sugar Club opened, where she came to cook with us. Now based in London, she still cooks with us a little but devotes most of her time to potting.

These biscuits have become a regular item on the Sugar Club menu and are usually served with mascarpone and fresh fruit. Mangos and berries are particular favourites, and the caramelised peaches are great too. The biscotti are very hard, so try them dipped in Vin Santo, coffee or tea. As the recipe makes a big batch, store the surplus in airtight jars and they’ll keep for three months. At the Sugar Club we make them with assorted dried fruit and nuts, but they can be made with just almonds or a nut of your choice.

Ingredients

  • 500g (18oz) plain flour
  • 500g (18oz) unrefined caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100g (oz) plump sultanas
  • 100g (oz) dried apricots, sliced
  • 100g (oz) pitted dates, chopped
  • 100g (oz) shelled pistachio nuts
  • 100g (oz) whole blanched almonds
  • 100g (oz) shelled hazelnuts
  • 2 lemons (grate the zest and discard the fruit)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Add half the beaten eggs and mix well, then add half of what’s left and mix again. Now add the last quarter a little bit at a time until the dough takes shape but isn’t too wet (you may not need to use all of the eggs). Add the fruit, nuts and lemon zest and mix well.

Divide the dough into six, roll into sausage shapes about 3cm (1 in) in diameter and place, at least 6cm (2½in) apart, on baking parchment on baking trays. Wetting your hands when rolling these out helps to prevent the dough sticking. Lightly flatten the ‘sausages’ and bake until golden brown (20-30 minutes). Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes to cool and firm up.

Drop the temperature of the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas 1. With a serrated knife, cut the biscotti on an angle into 5mm (⅕in) slices and lay these on the baking trays. Return them to the oven and cook for 12 minutes, then turn the biscotti over and cook until they are a pale golden colour (10-15 minutes). When ready, remove from the oven and cool on cake racks. Store in airtight jars.