Roasted Fig and Black Pepper Biscotti

Figs2

Thursday morning I arrived to find a case of figs in the middle of my station, bruised and soft, probably a gift from Frank’s.

I cut one open and took a bite. They were all sweetness, simple, pure, and boring.

TIM. DID YOU WANT SOME FIGS? I was anxious to get rid of them and onto my long prep-list.

Tim stopped slicing onions and shook his head.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE TODAY? He hopes it is going to be canolli.

I looked at the pile of fruit in front of me, not sure what I was going to do.

SOMETHING WITH THESE FIGS, I GUESS. MAYBE A PUREE.

He rolled his shoulders and continued slicing.

Tim is one of the thinkingist chefs I have worked with. Fightingly creative and intuitive.

Fig Puree is neither. I turned to the figs, cut them in half, and put them on a lightly oiled sheet pan.

LAUREN.

YEAH? I was just closing the oven doors.

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO PUSH. YOURSELF. THE CUSTOMERS.

He pauses between each word and then goes to the stove and stirs his stocks.

I thought for a moment. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT A BISCOTTI WITH BLACK PEPPER TO BALANCE THE SWEETNESS?

He smiles a little, like what he’s about to say is a dare.

IT SOUNDS GOOD TO ME.

Roasted Fig and Black Pepper Biscotti

Roasted Fig and Black Pepper Biscotti

These biscotti a reminiscent of Fig Newtons, but with a subtle kick. They make an excellent light dessert pared with a Vin Santo, or other sweet wine.

Biscotti are simple to make. In Italian ‘bis’ means twice and ‘cotto,’ cooked, making biscotti, literally ‘twice baked’ cookies. On a day to day basis I make Orange Almond and Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti, both of which share the same base recipe as Roasted Fig and Pepper Biscotti.

 Basic Biscotti Recipe

This base recipe, which I adapted from one I found on the side of a Bob’ Red Mill flour bag, is better the day after it is made. Once the cookies are completely cooled and have a few hours to dry out they gain a nice snap. I love that because they are one of the few things I can get ahead on without sacrificing quality.

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbs unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey, warmed

1 egg, room temperature

1 tsp Vanilla

Shaping, wet hands, double baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the warmed honey, egg and vanilla. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together and gently fold the mixture into the wet ingredients.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. With damp hands (to prevent sticking) press the dough together and then separate it into two equal balls. Gently roll these balls into 8” logs and place on well oiled or silicone mat lined baking sheet. If you do any baking at all I strongly recommend purchasing a silicone mat.

Again moisten your fingers and flatten the logs into 11/2” high loaves. Bake until firm, about 30 minutes, and allow to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 325. When the cookies are no longer hot to the touch cut them into 1” pieces. Begin at a 45 degree angle from the end of the log to achieve the traditional angular shape. As you cut, flip the cookies so the cut side is facing up. Sprinkle with sugar and bake until just beginning to brown.

Roasted Fig and Black Pepper Biscotti

Cut approximately 2-3 cup fresh figs in half, place on an oiled sheet pan, and roast at 350 until they are oozing a thick syrup and are about half of their original size .

Grind 1tsp black peppercorns and 1tps fennel seeds until smooth. Either use a spice grinder, a mortal and pestal, or a pepper grinder for both spices. Mix the spices into the dry ingredients, incorporate with wet ingredients, add figs, shape and bake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

1/2 cup coarsely ground hazelnuts

1tsp anise seed

1/4 cup slivers best quality dark chocolate (optional)

Toast hazelnuts and anise seeds until slightly brown and aromatic. This is accomplished equally well on top of or inside the oven. Incorporate nuts and spices and chocolate into the wet ingredients.

Orange Almond Biscotti

½ cup toasted slivered almonds

1tsp almond extract

Zest of 1 orange

Toast almonds until slightly brown. Add orange zest and almonds to wet ingredients and proceed with basic recipe.

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~ by Beth on September 26, 2007.

4 Responses to “Roasted Fig and Black Pepper Biscotti”

  1. Why do you warm the honey?

  2. As an alpha tester of this recipe, I can say that it is a promising one .. getting the right balance between what a typical consumer expects to taste in a food line this and the spice of black pepper could be tricky and where the skills have to come in … I think. Did I get that right?

    Looking forward to beta-2 and the final release …

  3. As an alpha tester of this recipe, I can say that it is a promising one .. getting the right balance between what a typical consumer expects to taste in a food line this and the spice of black pepper could be tricky and where the skills have to come in … I think. Did I get that right?

    Looking forward to beta-2 and the final release …

  4. I was writing about pepper in my website, and had my mind full of black, white, red, green pepper. So I did the black pepper biscotti and they are delicious! Thank you for this recipe!
    Laura

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