12/20/2014 11:18 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Pistachio Biscotti With Kirsch-Soaked Dried Cherries


Bake dozens to give to family and friends

This biscotti recipe has been in my repertoire for years... so many years, in fact, that I can't even remember when I came up with it. And, though I have countless versions of this recipe, this one is my husband's favorite. So I end up making it more often than any of the others.

When it comes to the holidays, I often venture in baking dozens of these to give to family and friends - a labor of love for sure, but I think that efforts from our kitchens always make the best gifts.

Snappy but not rock-hard - you won't break your teeth on these biscotti!

The one thing I must mention, though, is that you're not likely to break your teeth on one of these biscotti. They're snappy for sure, but not rock-hard! I like my biscotti to be dry but delicate, and so the recipe has evolved to give me these exact results. A very dear friend, who now lives near Venice, calls them "biscotti for the elderly!" It's a name that has stuck in my mind, and which he didn't mean as an insult... quite the contrary. It just means that nibbling on them is that much more pleasurable.

So enjoy these super-tasty morsels. May they find their way into your holiday gift baskets.


Food & wine pairing: Tuscany, Vin Santo with cherry-pistachio biscotti

Can one ever think of having biscotti without a glass of Vin Santo from Tuscany? I can't think of a better way to enjoy these delicious treats!

Pistachio biscotti with kirsch-soaked dried cherries

makes 10 dozen bite-sized biscotti
active time: 50 min

1 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup kirsch or grappa
12 tablespoons unsalted butter - at room temperature
1 cup organic sugar
3 extra large eggs - at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
large pinch sea salt
1 cup shelled salted pistachios

extra flour to roll the dough
2 large jelly roll pans (14" x 17") - lined with Silpat or parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180°C).

Step 1: Place the cherries and kirsch in a small bowl and add boiling water to just cover the cherries. Let stand for 15 minutes. Place the soft butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip at slow speed until fluffy and pale. Add the eggs one at a time and continue whipping at slow speed until the mixture is smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl and whip at medium speed for another minute until thick and ribbony. Set aside. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk with a wire whisk until well blended. Add to the egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just incorporated. Drain the cherries and add them to the dough, along with the pistachios. Stir until the dough comes together.

Step 2: Turn the dough over a generously floured work surface and divide into 5 even pieces. Roll each piece into a long, skinny log (1 1/4" in diameter and 16" long). Place the logs 2" apart on the prepared pan. Bake the logs until they've risen and are golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 250ºF (130ºC).

Step 3: Using a serrated knife, slice the logs crosswise to make 3/4"-thick biscotti. Lay the slices on the prepared pans (you'll need to use both pans) and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the slices over and return to the oven, making sure to switch the position of your pans in the oven, and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the slices are dry and pale golden. Cool on racks and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


Viviane's Tip

This recipe makes bite-sized biscotti, which I find much more refined than the giant ones we're used to seeing in most bakeries. However, if you wish to make larger biscotti, shape the dough into 3 larger logs (2" thick and 14" long) and extend the baking time to 35 to 40 minutes for the logs and 25 minutes on each side for the biscotti. This will yield 5 dozen medium-sized biscotti.


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