I must admit as I sit here writing this blog I’m feeling somewhat sorry for myself. I feel rubbish!
I am someone that prides themselves on never getting ill. I might even go as far to say that from time to time I can be heard bragging about my immunity to illness and don’t understand why people are constantly moaning about sniffles, splutters and general ‘man-flu-like’ symptoms.
But today, I am most definitely one of them. Sore throat, headache, cold, chesty cough… the works. I like to think you can run yourself out of illness, fresh air, muscles pumping, how can that not help? But each time I visit the gym, it doesn’t seem to have the desired affect I am looking for and this just irritates me further.
I have drunk endless cups of honey and lemon, eaten buckets of fruit, but still this illness lingers. This weekend I plan on not doing too much beyond catching up on TV, devouring my recently delivered ‘What Katie Ate” recipe book (very excited about this!) and dipping in some lovely freshly baked biscotti into my cappuccino.
I fell in love with biscotti in Italy and became addicted to the slightly tough, crunchy biscuits that develop into something just heavenly when dipped (for not too long) in a cappuccino. I got to the point where I couldn’t order a coffee without a biscotti on the side!
There is an obvious technique with the dipping, too long and you end up with half the biscuit at the bottom of the coffee leaving a soggy end to your coffee, but not long enough and it’s still quite tough on the old teeth! But, with much practice, my timings are now perfected.
I spent some time weaning myself off my biscotti addiction, but feeling so sorry for myself, it was all I wanted to bake so that I had something to dip into my coffee whilst I was curled up on the sofa.
The possible flavour combinations for a biscotti really are quite endless and whilst a traditional almond biscotti is delicious, I also love the addition of pistachios. I’ve often added cranberries as a dried fruit addition, but I’ve got a thing about figs at the moment, so thought it was worth a try to see how they might work with the pistachios.
Pistachio and lemon are two flavours I revert to time and time again and I think it works well here too. There is some spiciness from the cinnamon that compliments the chewy pockets of fig as well.
They really are a pretty biscuit with shards of green pistachio against the biscuit dough and the dark fig dots of colour provide an interesting contrast to the eye.
To be honest, if the smells wafting from the oven doesn’t make you feel better, then nothing will.
Pistachio and Fig Biscotti
Makes approximately 15 biscuits
75g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
125g plain flour, plus more for rolling
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1tsp ground cinnamon
75g pistachio nuts (kept whole)
75g chopped dried figs
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Whisk the egg and sugar until pale.
Beat in the orange zest, and then slowly fold in the dry ingredients including flour, baking powder and a good grating of nutmeg.
Fold in the whole pistachios and chopped dried figs.
Before taking your dough out the bowl, flour your work surface well as the dough is quite sticky.
Form the dough into a flattish, oval ciabatta-like loaf, approx. 25 x 5 centimetres, tapering the ends slightly.
Lay the biscotti dough loaf onto a piece of baking parchment on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until it is a pale brown colour.
Transfer to a wire rack and leave for 5 minutes to harden slightly, and then – using a bread knife cut the baked loaf diagonally into fingers about one centimetre thick.
Put these back onto the baking-parchment-covered sheet and cook again for another 10 minutes, then turn the biscotti over and cook for yet another five minutes.
Let the golden brown biscotti cool on a rack and then store them in an airtight container.
Serve with your favourite coffee, feet up, watching a good movie.