Saturday, 6 August 2011

Frasier's Favourite Biscotti

I was curled up on the couch with a giant latte the other day and flicking through Sky when I stumbled across some re-runs of American sitcom Frasier! For those who haven’t seen it (you’ve been missing out!) it’s a spin-off from the TV show Cheers and follows the hilarious ups and downs of Psychiatrist Frasier Crane’s life in Seattle and is very very funny.

Frasier and his brother Niles love nothing more than a coffee and biscotti whilst discussing their trials and tribulations, but their biscotti experience isn’t always a good one;

Niles: Have you noticed there are fewer hazelnuts in these biscotti?

Frasier: So I'm not crazy. 
Niles: And yet they've gone up twenty-five cents. 
Frasier: Oh, fewer nuts, more money - something I've been aspiring to for my entire professional life!

And in another episode…

Niles: These biscotti represent an all-time low. Chalky aftertaste, inelegant aroma, spongy.
Frasier: And what is spongy biscotti but an unwelcome trespasser into Madeleine (French sponge cakes) territory.

With this in mind I decided to bake some biscotti that Frasier and Niles would love. Fewer hazelnuts? Not in my nutty recipe where there are hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds and almond essence which all work amazingly together. Chalky? Inelegant aroma? Spongy? Not here! My biscotti follows the authentic Italian recipes; no butter or oil and twice baked to make them sweet and crunchy and they smell as delightful as they taste. So try this delicious, simple biscotti recipe for yourself for biscotti that would make even Frasier proud!

Frasier's Favourite Biscotti


350g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp cinnamon
250g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1tsp almond essence
100g mixed nuts, roughly chopped (I used hazlenuts, macadamia and almonds)

Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 4 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar and mix well.

Pour in the beaten eggs and almond essence and stir until the mixture starts coming together, then use your hands to bring the dough together. Add the nuts to the dough and work them in until evenly distributed.

Lightly flour a surface and turn out the dough. Divide the dough in half and with lightly floured hands, roll each piece into a sausage about 30cm long. Place one on each tray and flatten slightly.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the dough has risen and feels firm. It should still look pale. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes, meanwhile turn the oven down to 130C/gas 1.

Use a bread knife to cut the biscotti into slices diagonally about 2cm thick and lay the slices flat on the baking sheets. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes then turn them over and bake for another 15 minutes until dry and golden.

Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container for about a month or eaten straight away!

Belle’s Top Tip
Biscotti taste fantastic dipped in a steaming hot cappuccino or espresso, but if you really want to sample them Italian-style try serving after a meal with a glass of wine! Let the biscotti soak up some of the wine and take an indulgent bite…naughty and delicious!