A great Christmas Bake
With Christmas fast approaching it's great to get some tasty ideas for seasonal bakes, be it to enjoy with family and friends or to wrap up beautifully to give as gifts. Great British Bake Off finalist Beca Lyne-Pirkis shares a perfect Christmas time recipe...
Almond, Fig and Chocolate Biscotti
Biscotti, meaning 'twice baked', are Italian almond biscuits. Hard and crunchy, traditionally they are enjoyed dipped in Vin Santo - but do try with your favourite sweet tipple! Originally flavoured with hazelnuts and aniseed they are now made with a wide variety of ingredients. This recipe, using figs, brings in a seasonal flavour and dipping them in chocolate adds a touch of luxury - just perfect for Christmas.
This bake should take about 20 minutes to make, initial cooking for 30 minutes, giving you time for a sneaky sit down with a cuppa, plus a further 40 minutes for that all important second bake, also allow 15 minutes to decorate...
350g Plain Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
250g Light Brown Sugar
100g Whole Almonds
175g Dried Figs, roughly chopped
200g Dark Chocolate
1 - Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180C and line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.
2 - In a large bowl, sieve in the flour and baking powder and stir in the sugar, add the almonds and fig and mix well. Add the eggs and combine using a butter knife, using your hands towards the end to bring the dough together.
3 - Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 pieces. Dust your hands with flour and shape each piece into a sausage around 20-30cm long.
4 - Place 2 on each tray and bake for 25-30 minutes.
5 - Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the trays before transferring to a cooling rack. Turn the oven down to Gas Mark 1/140C.
6 - Once the dough has cooled enough for you to handle, using a sharp knife, cut the sausages on the diagonal into slices around 2cm thick and lay them flat on the baking sheet. Bake for another 20 minutes then turn the biscotti over and bake for another 20 minutes.
7 - Leave to cool completely on a rack before dipping in chocoalte or store in an airtight tin - you can kept them like this for up to one month.
8 - To half dip the biscotti in chocolate, wait until the biscotti has cooled completely. Melt the chocolate over a low heat until just melted. Transfer the chocolate to a mug – or something that has enough depth to dip half a biscotti. Leave the chocolate to cool a little then dip the biscotti leaving the chocolate to drip off and stop dripping before placing on some baking parchment paper to set.
9 - Enjoy the fruits of your labours or wrap up and give a lovely homemade gift to that special someone.
Beca's Christmas Baking class
Beca is a regular visitor to SEASON, The Exclusive Cookery School at Lainton House near Winchester.
Join her for her Christmas Baking and Edible Gifts class on Saturday 10th December for a festive day of baking, decorating and packaging...