Scientifically Sweet: Fig & Pistachio Cornmeal Biscotti

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fig & Pistachio Cornmeal Biscotti

I was at my husband's grandma's house this weekend.

First thing Jonathan notices when he walks in the door is that the kitchen table looked totally different.

Funny....because it was the same table that had been there for decades.

It's just that...well...he could ACTUALLY see it! Grandma, or "Mami" as we all call her, finally parted with the three layers of plastic and table mats covering the flawless wooden surface.

I asked her why after all these years she finally decided to do it. I mean, she's 83 now. Her response was that she figured she's going to die before the table dies, and if she dies, the table is going with her!

I thought it was hilarious. I guess this is her way of "living it up", and all the power to her because it's little things like this that make life more fun.

I used to be a big saver of things too. Jon still makes fun of me and says that I hoard stuff but that's not true! Certain things I try to save for special occasions, like a nice bottle of champagne or ice wine. Or, a new pair of socks. Ok...that's weird. Maybe I still need to work on it.

But for the most part, I try to use things soon after I receive them, whether it's a box of chocolates (gone in 60 seconds) or a new dress. Don't think of it as "waiting for that special occasion". Instead, make the day you open it a special occasion!

Go ahead. Do it today! Open your favourite bottle of bubbly, use your fancy silverware, drink water from a wine glass, open that new pack of socks, wear a dress to the mall, call your best friend and use all your daytime minutes chatting for hours, make notes all over your cookbooks with a pen, get some use out of that 5000 thread count pillow case and make (then eat) these Fig & Pistachio Cornmeal Biscotti.

Brew a hot pot of coffee or a cup of espresso and take in the morning with the incredible aromas of figs, pistachios and cardamom. It's mostly Italian with a middle eastern spin.

Use your fancy espresso cups and serve it to yourself on a saucer with a little golden spoon.

Carpe diem. You're worth it.

Fig & Pistachio Cornmeal Biscotti
Makes about 24 cookies

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (zest of about 1 lemon)
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 oz coarsely chopped dried figs (about ¾ cup)
2.5 oz shelled roasted pistachios (about 2/3 cup)
1 large egg, well beaten, for brushing
1 oz pure white chocolate, melted, for drizzling (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, cardamom and salt.

In a small saucepan, melt butter with lemon zest to infuse it with the lemon flavour and set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla extract to blend evenly. Whisk in melted butter mixture. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add egg mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a stiff, slightly sticky dough forms. You may need to mix it with your hands a bit to bring it together, but don’t knead it. Fold in pistachios and figs.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, divide it in half and roll each half into a 10-inch long log. Transfer logs to prepared baking sheet and flatten with your hands so they are about 2 ½ inches wide. Brush tops and sides with beaten egg and bake until golden brown and slightly cracked at the surface, about 25 minutes.

Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let biscotti logs cool on pan for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Transfer each log to a cutting board and use a serrated knife to slice it diagonally into ½ to ¾-inch-thick slices with a gentle sawing motion. Place cookies, sitting upright, back on the baking sheet and bake until dry and crisp, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with melted white chocolate if desired.
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  1. Wow, I'm not usually a big fan of biscotti, but I can so imagine how good the different flavors and textures would pair together in this recipe. Might have to make some soon! :)

  2. Bravo! Dudette has a Spiderman lunchbox that she keeps in the closet and won't use because she doesn't want to get it dirty. What's the use? No one will ever see it. Not something I've been able to teach her yet. I think I need one of those biscotti, please. Or two?

  3. I love pistachio biscotti, but figs sound absolutely amazing in them :) Great recipe!

  4. I'm a huge biscotti fan! I've tried to make it a couple times before and I always have a hard time keeping it from drying out. I'm hoping to do better next time! I love that you used fig and pistachio, that combo sounds delicious!

  5. Your post has me wanting to get up and go clean out my files and closets. There are things I have saved for years because "you never know..." but they are really just taking up space. While I work, I wish I could be munching on a piece of that delicious looking biscotti.

  6. These biscotti look wonderful. I love figs and will eat them in pretty much anything so these are right up my ally!

  7. The combination sounds just prefect! I can imagine how interesting the texture must be...definilely going to try these soon. Thanks!

  8. I am officially in love with you now. Just sayin'.

  9. Help how much lemon juice? not on the ingredient list

  10. The instructions say to stir almonds in with the dry ingredients but there are no almonds listed among the ingredients. Also when do you sprinkle on the finely chopped white chocolate, Could one not use dark chocolate as well as white? Thanks I am waiting to be able to try this recipe that includes the combination of favorite ingredients.

    1. Hi! Sorry, there are no almonds - just pistachios. And, the white chocolate drizzle is optional. You could absolutely use dark chocolate instead. Cheers!

  11. Where is the cardamom? Thanks!

  12. Where is the cardamom? Thanks!


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