Just about this time last year I was finishing up what turned out to be one really tough semester studying Italian. The teacher was from Rome and there was no way that she was going to baby us or let us getting away with speaking anything but Italian. By the end of the year, the class had dwindled down to just four of us, plus one guy from Naples who needed the credit and only came to take the tests. Our year end project was a skit that we had to perform for a class of beginning students. Even though we all could speak better than these students, we were still nervous to get up in front of them. Luckily our classmate from Naples translated our whole performance into correct Italian and joined our little group. I decided to bake something for the class in hopes that they would be more interested in the food, than in what we were saying!
Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti (from Gourmet magazine)
1-1/2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2-1/4 cups finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano,
1-1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and 1 tablespoon black pepper in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until it resembles coarse meal.
Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quarter dough. Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12″ log, about 2″ wide.
Transfer logs to 2 ungreased baking sheets (I use parchment), arranging logs about 3″ apart. Whisk remaining egg and brush over logs. Srinkle tops with remaining pepper and grated cheese.
Bake 30 minutes, rotating sheets top to bottom and 180 degrees halfway through baking. Logs should be pale golden and firm.
Cool logs to to warm on a rack, about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Carefully transfer logs to a cutting board (one at a time) and cut diagonally into 1/2″ thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices cut side down on baking sheet. Bake, turning over once, until golden about 35-45 minutes.
Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks about 15 minutes. Yield:5-6 dozen
Biscotti keep in an airtight container at room temperature 2 weeks.
These make a wonderful hostess gift! I plan on serving them with champagne before Thanksgiving dinner. Salute!