Biscotti ai fichi, noci e caramello

31st July 2016

fig walnut and caramel biscottiThis biscotti quest started with a simple snapshot of some gelato posted on Twitter by the ever lovely Melissa Lenhardt (have you read Sawbones yet? No? You really need to, like RIGHT NOW). From there things spiraled a bit, as they tend to do when biscotti is mentioned in my general vicinity, and … well … you know how this story ends:

I did the thing. In fact, I did the thing twice because the first batch – while perfectly fine – wasn’t quite right. Solution: put the caramel IN THE BISCOTTI (because drizzle topped biscotti were gooey and ugh, it’s too humid here for that).

This is probably one of my favorite biscotti conceptions I’ve made in just over the year that I’ve been producing biscotti (at least for this blog). There’s something that happens between the figs and the caramel which I can’t quite explain – but it’s the perfect amount of sweetness – which balances nicely with the earthiness of the walnut (note: these are ENGLISH WALNUTS, not the horrid bitter thing that my state is known for growing. *cough**black walnuts**cough*).

Biscotti ai Fichi, Noci e Caramello (Fig, Walnut, & Caramel Biscotti)

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup dried black figs, chopped
1/3 cup caramel bits (I used the Kraft)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Add vanilla, mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar mixture. Continue to mix until a dough has formed.

Mix in walnuts, figs, and caramel bits; fully incorporating between each addition.

Scoop dough out onto a Silpat covered baking sheet and form into a roughly 15×4 inch block. Dust the top of the biscotti with sugar. Bake until a light golden color (approx. 25 minutes). Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.

Carefully remove log from baking sheet to cutting board. Using a long knife (serrated if you prefer) slice log into 1/2 inch wide pieces. Return pieces to baking sheets, and return to oven. Bake for additional 15-20 minutes.

Remove biscotti from oven, and place on a cooling rack, they will continue to “crisp” as they cool. Once completely cooled you can store your biscotti in an airtight container.

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Edna Mae’s Fresh Strawberry Pie

26th May 2016

edna mae's strawberry pieOnce upon a time, when I was nothing more than a wee lass, I told my mother with all the seriousness I could muster that instead of a wedding cake I wanted pie. Lots and lots of pie. Not one large pie, but lots of normal sized pies accompanied by freezer after freezer full of homemade ice cream.

I think I was trying to latch on to the feeling of summers in the country where my days were filled with chasing lizards in the vegetable garden, fishing, trailing around behind my grandfather asking him to play basketball with me, swinging, and finally, once evening came sitting on the back porch listening to the cicadas sing and the owls hoot.

Home; pie reminds me of home. And not even my childhood home, but rather Edna Mae’s home tucked away between the fields and hills on the edge of the Ozarks. My grandmother’s house always smelled like love: green beans, pie crust, and love.

The key to this pie is fresh, local strawberries. The season for strawberries is normally not long, and it’s early (though this year it was a bit late but that’s because of ALL THE WINTER we had this year). Local strawberries are the small, sweet, ruby red jewels of any local farmer’s market. I highly recommend purchasing more than one quart at a time, because really – is there such a thing as too many strawberries?

Summer is about barbeques and grand outdoor adventures … and pie accompanied by freezer after freezer full of homemade ice cream.

* For those of you keeping score at home – yes this recipe looks familiar. I first published it almost four years ago. Why are you repeating yourself, you ask? Simple. I pulled up this recipe and proceeded to make the pie just as the recipe said to … only after did I realize I’d made an error with the Jello. So I edited the recipe to have more concise instructions. Happy pie making!

Edna Mae’s Fresh Strawberry Pie

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 T white corn syrup
2 T + 1 tsp corn starch
1 cup water
1/2 a packet (from a 3oz box OR 2-1/4 TBSP) strawberry Jello (regular OR sugar free)
1 – 1.5 quart Strawberries
1 baked pie shell

Directions:

Mix sugar, salt, corn syrup, corn starch and water; boil until clear.

Remove from heat. Add Jello mix.

Let Jello mix cool until just above room temperature. Spread a thin layer of Jello mixture onto the cool pie shell and let stand (this acts as a barrier between the strawberries and the pie shell – keeping the pie shell from turning to mush).

Add 1 quart strawberries (which have been cleaned, well drained, and cooled in the fridge) and mix.

Carefully spoon Jello coated strawberries into pie shell, pouring any remaining Jello mixture over the top.

After the pie is completely cool, store in the refrigerator.

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