24 January 2009

Parmesan and Black Pepper Biscotti

We've been thinking of making biscotti for a while now, but never got around to it as part of our holiday gifts. But a three-day weekend is the perfect time to craft a cookie that you have to bake twice (though these actually don't take that long). In looking for a classic, sweet variety of biscotti, we came across this interesting savory recipe on yumsugar.com (via Gourmet).

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, ground
    • *if you, like us, aren't blessed with the room to hold a spice grinder, just go with 1 1/4 tbs black pepper
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (2 1/4 cups)
    • *we ran out of parmesan, so we used Pecorino to make up the difference (a bit more than 1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk

  1. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Pulse peppercorns in grinder until coarsely ground.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Blend in butter with a pastry blender (if you don't own one of these either, do what we did and use your fingertips) until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  5. Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.
  6. Divide dough into four pieces. On a floured surface with well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log (about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch high). Transfer logs to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart.
  7. Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper.

  8. Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total.
  9. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
  10. Carefully transfer 1 warm log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets.
  11. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.
It's hard to imagine from just four logs, but this recipe makes a ton of biscotti -- 5-6 dozen or so. And you'll be glad you have that many, because these are delicious. The Pecorino we added made these taste pretty strong, but in a really good way. They're not a very hard biscotti, just firm and crumbly, but that means you don't really have to dip them in anything. HOWEVER, these would be really good dipped in pasta sauce. Hmm...


  1. i'm usually not into biscotti, but these sound more savoury than usual ...



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