Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Savory Biscotti

I've long loved biscotti.  They keep well and are delicious with tea for an afternoon treat.  They package well for gift giving.  When my friends were coming for our movie date last week, I wanted a simple menu but it had to be a little different and, of course, delicious.  I settled on a roasted pepper and tomato soup and thought these savory biscotti would be perfect as an accompaniment.  I like the full amount of pepper in the recipe as it provides just the "bite" they need.  I made them a few days ahead.  They also freeze well.  I usually crisp them a bit in the oven after defrosting.  Give them a try.  I think you'll find them quite nice.

Parmesan Black-Pepper Biscotti from Epicurious with a small tweak by me

1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper (more or less to your taste)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (2 cups)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for dusting.
1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into half inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (since I don't have whole milk, I mix 1% milk and half and half)

1.  Place oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
2.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, two cups of the cheese and the black pepper in a large bowl.  Blend in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse corn meal.  Whisk three of the eggs into the milk and add to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.
3.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into quarters.  Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12 inch long log (about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inches high).  Transfer logs to two ungreased baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart.
4.  Whisk remaining egg and brush over logs, then sprinkle the tops of logs, evenly, with remaining cup of cheese and a little black pepper.  Bake, rotating the sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are lightly golden and firm to the touch.  This takes about 30 minutes total time.  Cool logs to warm on a wire rack.
5.  Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
6.  Carefully transfer one warm log to a cutting board and cut, on the diagonal, into 1/2 inch thick slices with a serrated knife.  Arrange the slices, cut side down, in one layer on a baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining logs.  
7.  Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp-about 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool and store in an airtight container.  I freeze some of the logs.  Just defrost and crisp up in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes.