Biscotti with Blood orange and Macadamia nuts

This is not my first Biscotti post.

The truth is, the flavor combinations that will deliver a spectacular Italian biscuit are so many that I could keep testing recipes for months and still know there are many more to explore.

The original Cantuccini, or Biscotti di Prato recipe, calls for almonds and vanilla, a marriage made in heaven.

Then you could try that with some added chocolate chips, or a full-on chocolate version, with hazelnuts in place of the almonds.

Pistachio and mandarin perhaps, or cranberries, if you are feeling festive.

What about white chocolate and dried raspberry ones? Or coffee, cocoa and hazelnut? The possibilities are endless.

Some poet ought to write an ode on this versatile Tuscan delight!


450gr. (4 cups) Self raising Flour
350gr.1 3/4 cups) Sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon melted butter
Grated zest of two blood oranges, the juice of half
a pinch of salt
120 gr.(3/4 cup) macadamia nuts, roughly chopped.
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste

How to

Beat the eggs with  sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy.

Add the sifted flour, butter,salt, blood orange zest and juice, then the nuts.

Shape the dough with floured hands to form into two logs and I baked them in a medium oven for around 25 minutes.

Cool at room temperature for 3-5 minutes, then slice them using a sharp bread knife.

You will notice than the inside of the biscuits is still a little wet.

Place the sliced, semi-cooked dough back onto the tray and into the oven and toast each side for about 5 minutes.

In Italy, we love to dunk Cantuccini into Vin Santo, a sticky dessert wine from Tuscany.

They are also delicious with hot chocolate or coffee, but that’s no surprise, is it?

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Apple and Sultana Tart (Crostata di mele e uvetta)

This is one of my “Desert Island” dishes. I guess it’s because Mamma used to make this a lot when we were little ,and to me it still tastes of home and lazy Sundays snuggled up on the couch watching cartoons, fighting with my brother and my sister over the last slice of crostata. Legend has it that my brother Gianmarco once managed to snatch 14 slices all to himself and lived to tell the tale!

This is to show that cake is obviously good for you…


For the pastry (pasta frolla)

150 gr of cold butter cut into cubes

250 gr of plain flour

1 egg

120 gr of icing sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla paste

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Pulse all the ingredients with a food processor until you have wet crumbs. Tip them onto a floured bench, press the touch together with your hands, shape it into a ball. Wrap it in plastic film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the filling:

Soak a couple of handfuls of sultanas in Marsala wine and  slice up three apples and cook in a pot over a low flame with two table spoons of brown sugar, a tablespoon of butter and a splash of water. After 10 minutes add the sultanas and some of the soaking liquor as well as lemon zest and a cinnamon quill. Cook it together for 5 minutes, than pour the mixture onto a bowl I let it  cool down.

1. Bring your oven to 170 degrees Celsius.

2. Grease and flour a tart case and put 3/4 of your chilled flattened pastry onto it, trying not to over handle it. Place the rest of the pastry back in the fridge.

3. Pierce the base with a fork and blind bake until it starts to turn golden.


4. Once the tart case is cooked and slightly cooled, pour in your apple mix and use the left over pastry to decorate the top of the tart. I always favour a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and place in the oven for around 30 minutes.

Cool down before serving.

A generous helping of crostata and a glass of Vin Santo and I am  already in my desert island …

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