Last night, I searched for a recipe that I could use to start making a dent in my supply of pistachios. My cousin Cindy recently turned 30, and I was supposed to cater her birthday party, until I was called away for a last-minute emergency. Since Cindy had specifically requested a pistachio dessert, I had purchased a lot of pistachios ahead of time (anticipating that some recipe testing would be required) -- such that I currently have five pounds of pistachios in the refrigerator.
Several of my cookbooks contain recipes for pistachio cherry biscotti, which seemed like a good option, since I always have dried tart cherries on hand. I decided to go with a recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. The recipe in the book is actually one for hazelnut cinnamon chip biscotti, but pistachio cherry biscotti is presented as a possible variation. It only takes a few minutes to mix the batter for the biscotti. You stir together sugar, baking powder, and salt, beat in eggs, add vanilla, incorporate flour, and then mix in pistachios and dried cherries. Then you follow the standard procedure for making biscotti: forming the dough into logs, baking, brushing with egg white, slicing, and baking again.
The finished biscotti were beautiful. The recipe contemplates that they will be generously sized, and I got 20 large (over six and a half inches long) biscotti from one batch of dough, plus a few smaller biscotti from the ends (I slice my biscotti on the diagonal, so there are always some shorter pieces on the ends of the logs).
The cookies had a very nice crunchy texture, without being tough or dry. Not surprisingly, the pistachio and cherries were just lovely together, and I especially loved the crunch of the pistachios alongside the chewiness of the cherries. While the biscotti were very well received by others, I couldn't help thinking that they were missing just a little something. I'm guessing that a half teaspoon of almond extract would have greatly enhanced the overall flavor and made these truly outstanding -- I plan on making these biscotti again and I'll definitely try that next time!
Recipe: "Pistachio Cherry Biscotti" (variation of Hazelnut Cinnamon Chip Biscotti) from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.
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