Thursday, March 18, 2010

Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti

When I was in Florida a few weeks ago, we went shopping at a very upscale Italian grocery called Carmine's in West Palm Beach. This store was packed to the gills with all things Italian! And, you'd think they were giving the stuff away it was so crowded with shoppers. But..hardly giving it I said, it's an upscale market and the prices were crazy!

One of the products I bought was a box of savory biscotti that was supposed to have in it sun dried tomato and some other herb. I think basil..or something. On the cover of the box , there was a picture showing what looked like a really nice crunchy biscotti but when I opened the box, it was a huge disappointment! It actually looked nothing like the picture, kind of like dog biscuits! (Sorry, I know that's pretty gross..but it did!) And it tasted awful.

Well, since I've been wanting to make a savory biscotti I did a little research and found this recipe from Gourmet Magazine. It sounded really good, with a good quality parmesan cheese and black pepper.

The recipe is easy to make, although you have to do a little work by hand, rather than using your mixer. But if you do what I did, it will come together quickly. And once again, I halved the recipe!

Begin by pulsing your whole peppercorns in a grinder. Ok..I don't own a grinder so I just used regular ground black pepper. See, I already saved you a step!
Then whisk together your dry ingredients and pepper and cheese in a large bowl.
You're supposed to blend in the cold butter with your fingertips. I grated the butter into the dry and this worked great.
Then blend with your fingers to combine.

Beat the eggs with the milk...

And add it to the dry/butter mixture. Stir to combine.

It will form into a dough ball. Then divide it into 4 pieces and shape into logs.

Place the logs on your baking sheet ( or sheets). I used parchment paper.
Form the logs using you hands slightly dampened.
Brush tops with beaten egg, then sprinkle with more grated parmesan cheese and black pepper.

Bake for approx. 30 minutes. Let cool 15 to 20 minutes, cut into slices and lower oven temp. to 300. Bake slices again about 10 minutes on each side.

The texture is light and they have a wonderful's all about the crunch with me!
The flavor of the cheese and pepper really comes through to make it a great appetizer cracker with wine, cheese, dip..or just by itself.
Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti ( from Gourmet Dec. 2006)
1 1/2 tbsp. black peppercorns
4 cups AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt ( I cut down a little because the cheese has alot of salt in it)
4 1/2 oz. ( 2 1/4 cups) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese ( or another really good quality)
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter-cut into 1/2" cubes( I grated my cold butter using a box grater)
4 large whole eggs
1 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
1. Pulse peppercorns in a grinder til coarsely ground ( I don't own a grinder so I couldn't do this step but you could certainly use your peppermill).
2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups of cheese and 1 tbsp. ground black pepper.
3. Blend in butter with fingers til it resembles coarse meal. (Or grate butter into mixture)
4. Whisk 3 eggs with the milk and add to flour/butter mixture. Stir with a fork til soft dough forms.
5. Divide dough into 4 pieces and place each piece onto baking sheet(s), forming into logs approx. 12" x 2" x 3/4" high. They will spread so place them about 3" apart.
6. Brush tops with remaining egg and sprinkle remaining cheese and pepper on top.
7. Bake for approx. 30 minutes.( Mine were golden brown on the bottom and not as firm to the touch on top as the sweet biscotti I usually make. But it was done at this point.)
8. Let the biscotti cool about 15 or 20 minutes.
9. Using a serrated knife, cut slices. I like mine a little thinner than the sweet biscotti so I cut mine 3/8" thick but the original recipe says to slice 1/2" thick.
10. Lower the oven temp. to 300. Place the slices back on the baking sheet and bake each side 10 minutes.
I would keep them in a tin or some other air tight container.

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