Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Taking it to Another Level

You know I can’t just leave well enough alone. Nope. I can’t do it, its just not in me. I get an idea and I just have to run with it.

Well, that’s what happened after I made two batches of biscotti last weekend. I just....couldn’t.....stop.

Fortunately, there have been people who have gone before me that had the same budding idea I was formulating and therefore I didn’t have to find my own recipe.

After putting together Piña Colada Biscotti.... and then Island Mango Biscotti.... I was really craving something savory. The wheels started turning and I ended up with Black Pepper Biscotti. A quick Google search turned up a couple of recipes for Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti and that, my dear friends, was a combination I just couldn’t turn down. I started cooking almost immediately. I mean, after all, I had all the ingredients, so why wait?

I have one word for these Biscotti.


Now clearly, this is not something I would be inclined to dunk in my morning coffee. That being said....how about a bowl of Fire Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Soup? Because, let me tell you, that was a match made in heaven.
These biscotti took a lot longer to bake than the recipe prescribed, mainly because they came out more like a biscuit. Soft and fluffy, but definitely not sturdy. I intended to ship these as part of the Cookie Swap I took part in, but I was concerned that with their moisture content, they might be in danger of molding along the way. And I just couldn’t have that. So, I baked them longer, and kept them local to enjoy with friends here. I will advise making these the day that you want to use them. Serve them at a lovely dinner party. While it didn’t stop me from eating them several days later, I just think they lost some of their integrity when they lost their freshness.

But don’t let that stop you. These were fabulous. Definitely make them. Just go in with a plan!
Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti

1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
4 1/2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (2 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse peppercorns in grinder until coarsely ground.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, cayenne and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture 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 cut in half. Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened log. Transfer logs to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart.

Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper.
Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Carefully transfer warm logs to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining log, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total.


girlichef said...

Holy shite...that sounds fabulous! I want a whole "loaf"...and a whole vat of soup ;) LOL...YUM!

Janie said...

I was surfing around blogs today, and I suppose out of my own level of boredom, (snow again) I was checking blogs that everyone else reads, and saw you on Girlichef...

What a great idea! I never thought of a savory Biscotti....I am part Italian and the only kind of Biscotti I ever heard of was sweet. I am sure these go really well with stew, or any kind of soup...
Thanks for posting this...