It’s a complete fluke that I took to baking on Sunday 17th May 2020…. World Baking Day!

Biscotti, another memory from Italy.

These crisp biscuits originated in Tuscany where they are traditionally dipped in a wine, Vin Santo. When we were enjoying a wine pairing at a neighbouring property on our Tuscan Foodie holiday in September 2019 our hostess was very impressed that I knew what biscotti was and that I knew how to dunk it in my Vin Santo! They made their own Vin Santo, a dessert wine made from the local grape varieties, Malvasia, Trebbiano or Sangiovese.

Biscuits served with wine!

After harvesting the whole grape bunches are dried on layers of straw. This concentrates the sugar before these raisin-like grapes are pressed. This natural wine is fermented and then placed in small wooden barrels (not always oak, chestnut, juniper or cherry wood may be used) for a minimum of 3 years.

Small wooden barrels filled with Vin Santo ….. minimum 3 years maturation!

These golden or amber coloured wines vary in sweetness from dry to fairly sweet. They are delicious! If you don’t have Vin Santo you can serve the biscotti with a Fortified , a Late Harvest or Noble Late Harvest style of wine.

Biscotti biscuits are also known as cantucci. Traditionally they are almond flavoured.

In South Africa were rusks are popular for dunking in hot beverages biscotti are also popular.

I have often made biscotti in the past, but somehow could not find my favourite recipe. I did some research and came up with this one.

I love the flavours of Chai, but cannot enjoy the drink because of my sensitivity to milk. So here I have added the Chai flavours to the biscotti which will be excellent dunked into my black rooibos tea and it will compliment Mark’s espresso!

The word biscotti, the plural of ‘biscotto’ actually means ‘twice baked’.

This biscuit is baked in a roll shape, cooled, sliced and then baked again, resulting in dry, crisp biscuits.

When making the dough it is quite tacky after mixing. Here you are able to break the usual baking rules and flour the surface quite generously while shaping the ‘sausages’ before the first baking.

The baked loaves are then sliced and the biscuits are laid onto a baking tray for a second baking, where they dry out and become characteristically crisp. I prefer 5mm thick biscotti, but traditionally they are about 10mm thick.

They make lovely gifts so remember these at Christmas and other special occasions.

Recipe: Chai flavoured pecan biscotti