Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuscan Dessert : Biscotti di Prato

Biscotti di Prato with Vin Santo by Jacqui Lui
The first documented recipe for this cake is a eighteenth century centuries-old manuscript. The recipe was then taken , by  the pastry chef Antonio Mattei ,to the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867, winning a special mention..
For dessert, they are usually paired with a bottle of vin santo of Tuscany.
There is a small discussion on the name. Some say that the biscuits of Prato are erroneously called Cantucci or Cantuccini. In fact, the nooks and almond biscuits are prepared by another method, are in fact made of bread dough and anise. For others, the common name of "cantuccini"or "nooks" has a curious origin and dates back many years ago when the Biscuit Mattei di Prato, in its glory years, was selling scraps of biscuits (the edges, both ends of the loaf, in fact the "nooks" in Prato) at a lower price.

Biscotti di Prato

  • 500g  (5 cups and  a half) all purpose flour / plain flour    
  • 300 g (1 cup and a half) sugar                                         
  • 150g  (¾ cup) almonds  
  • 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks
  • 8  g  (2 teaspoons) powder                          
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 pinch of salt 
Place  the flour on the table and make a well in the middle.Add sugar, 3 eggs, 2 egg yolks, baking powder, salt and a pinch of saffron. 
Knead the dough  and add the unpeeled almonds , oven toasted , mixing them  well into the dough. 
Prepare  large loaves about 2-3 cm.wide 1 cm high.

Place them well apart on a greased and floured  baking tray.Bake them for  ca. 15 minutes at 180 C ( till they are firm  enough).

Take the tray out and  brush the loaves  with beaten egg , cut obliquely just about every inch in order to obtain the typical shape of the biscuits of Prato and  bake them for other 10 minutes


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