Saturday, August 11, 2012

parmigiano-reggiano and cracked pepper biscotti



I adore biscotti!  It is one of my favorite cookies!  There's really no particular reason - maybe because it's not too sweet, maybe because it takes longer to eat "just one", maybe because there are so many flavor combinations, maybe because it's an Italian cookie…whatever it is, I love biscotti!  It is my best-loved choice to give as gifts, too. Friends seem to cherish when I present them with a glass jar filled with biscotti.  I think it's because so many steer away from baking biscotti, thinking it's difficult.  Actually, it's very easy.




This was my first time creating a savory biscotti, and it definitely won't be my last.  When I came across this recipe, it was described as a "beer and wine" biscotti.  It could not have been more aptly named; however,  to that perfect description, I'm adding - an excellent choice to serve with fruits, an antipasto and salads…along with the beer and wine, of course!  :)

My local grocery store's gourmet cheese department freshly grates parmigiano-reggiano daily, so that's what I purchased for the biscotti, but you can also grate your own.  Having it freshly grated; however, definitely adds the robust, savory flavor this is meant to have.  Although optional, I added some additional cheese to the top for the first baking, and even an extra grinding of black pepper, just because!


biscotti - "twice-baked"


After baking the Parmigiano-Reggiano and Cracked Black Pepper Biscotti, I served it with fresh sliced peaches and a delicious, chilled seasonal craft beer, Festina Peche, by Dogfish Head.  It was a fantastic combination, and was eaten (and drank) all up while watching the Washington Nationals win another game.  Go Nats! - sorry, had to give a plug to my favorite baseball team!  :)




Give this savory biscotti a try…I think it will become something new and fresh for your summer food menu - and I'd love to know what you think.  Have a beautiful weekend!!!

Until next time…mangia!  xox

Carol




Parmigiano-Reggiano and Cracked Black Pepper Biscotti
Makes 22 - 32 biscotti, depending on thickness they are cut.

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup, firmly packed, freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted {optional}
additional grated parmigiano-reggiano and/or ground pepper for topping the biscotti {optional}

Create the biscotti:

1)  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.  (I like using parchment; after the first bake stage you can easily lift it right off the pan.)

2)  Combine the butter, sugar, parmigiano-reggiano, ground black pepper, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.

3)  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.

4)  Stir in the flour and the nuts (if using them).

5)  Transfer the sticky dough to the prepared baking sheet, dividing in half as you do so, and plop it down so that they're about 2" from each short edge of the pan.  You want to leave plenty of space between them.

6)  Using your wet fingers, shape each piece of dough into a log about 9 1/2" long, and 7/8" thick.  If you've used nuts, the log will be about 3" wide; with no nuts in the dough, it will be about 2 1/2" wide. Do your best to smooth the tops and square off the corners.  Wet your fingers to do this, if necessary.  If desired, sprinkle the tops of the logs with additional grated parmigiano-reggiano.  (I used the additional parm on top of the logs, and also ground a little extra black pepper.)

7)  Bake the logs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're beginning to brown around the edges.  Remove them from the oven, and carefully lift them off the pan to a work surface.  If you've used parchment, simply lift the parchment off the pan and set it, biscotti and all, on your work surface.

8)  Reduce the oven temp to 325 degrees F.

9)  Using a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut the biscotti into 1/2" - 3/4" wide slices.  It helps to start cutting not on the top, but at an outer edge; this seems to lessen any crumbling.  For long biscotti, cut on the diagonal; for shorter biscotti, cut crosswise.

10)  Set the biscotti, on their edges, back on the baking sheet; no greasing or parchment is necessary.  Space them fairly close to one another so you can get them all onto the same pan.

11)  Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 30 minutes.  Lower temperature again to 300 degrees F, and continue baking for an additional 20 - 30 minutes, or until they feel dry and are just beginning to brown.  If you pinch the center of the biscotti, it may feel just slightly soft; that's ok, as it will continue to firm as it cools.  (This is a longer second baking stage than your usual sweet biscotti, so don't be alarmed.)

12)  Remove the biscotti from the oven, and let them cool right on the pan.  If you're not sure if you've baked them enough, turn off the oven, crack the door open several inches, and let the biscotti continue to dry out right in the cooling oven.

13)  When biscotti are completely cool, store them airtight at room temperature; they'll stay fresh for a few weeks.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour with slight variations.



12 comments:

  1. Another terrific recipe written with thought.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, and visiting a cup of mascarpone!

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  2. I love this savory version of biscotti! Parmigiano is my favorite and I can never get enough pepper in my life!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! It's so good! Totally agree - give me the pepper, leave the salt! Thanks for stopping by, and taking the time to comment - I really appreciate it!

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  3. Oh what a fabulous recipe! Why have I never made savory biscotti?!?

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    1. Same here, Marina! I make so many kinds of biscotti, especially at Christmas, but never even gave savory biscotti a thought! Thank you so much for coming by my new blog!!

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  4. My mom makes all the biscotti around here. I love it when she does and just remembered it's time for her to bake some more! Love your savory version, Carol. They look perfect. Thanks for stopping by and happy to have found your blog:)

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    1. Thank you so much for the comment, Lora! Your mom will have to bake some, but be sure to eat it with some beer or wine! :) So happy you found my blog, and took the time to stop by!!

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  5. I don't know what's more delicious, your recipes or your photos!!!!

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  6. Ooh, yum, these sound wonderful! And I see a nice beer choice in the background, too! :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Fae! It is really good!!! Yes, lol, it is a GREAT beer - especially with the biscotti! :) Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

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Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by a cup of mascarpone, and taking the time to leave a comment! I read, smile, and cherish each and every one of them! xox

Carol