When my dear friend Sandra left the Manchester for the altogether warmer & sunnier city of Dubai, I inherited some useful and interesting baking ingredients. None of these came close to making up for the fact that she was leaving, that is a very sad fact ( 🙁 ), but a little baking with interesting ingredients does do a little to soothe my sadness.
You don’t get canned pumpkin puree in the UK. You can buy it online for an exorbitant price of course, but that is just not worth it. I could just buy a whole pumpkin and massacre it myself, but I am not feeling quite enthusiastic enough for that. And its not the right time of year for fresh pumpkin anyway (thats my excuse and I’m sticking to it). So when I gleaned a tin of pumpkin puree from Sandra’s cupboard, I started to mull over all the potential uses. I have made pumpkin brownies before, and I did not want to be quite traditional enough to go with a pumpkin pie, so I settled on biscotti for my first half of the tin of pumpkin.
I love a good biscotti, and enjoy trying new flavours, so pumpkin biscotti appealed to me straight away. I found a recipe online, a proper one, no butter in sight and packed with spicy goodness. Biscotti do take a little time to cook, but the prep is really quick and easy so I honestly think that more than makes up for the longer oven time.
Cutting up the biscotti once the logs have cooked is generally an issue for me. I have tried using my bread knife but it tend to almost tear the biscotti apart. A knife which isn’t sharp enough crushes rather than cuts, so a good, sharp knife is important. This time I used my super duper sharp ceramic knife and tried my best to cut with the courage of my convictions, and it worked pretty well 🙂 Only a couple of casualties, and I needed to taste them anyway.
Tip: When handling the dough to form the initial biscotti logs, wet your hands before handling the dough. Its sticky stuff and having wet hand will stop you getting a big biscotti build up n your hands.
What you will need:
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
What to do:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Give it a rough stir to generally incorporate the ingredients, the dough will be crumbly.
Flour your hands and a clean kitchen surface and lightly knead the dough. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Form the dough into a large log, roughly about 15-20 inches by 6-7 inches. The loaves should be relatively flat, only about 1/2 inch high. Bake for 22-30 minutes at 350 F, until the center is firm to the touch. (Feel free to also form two smaller logs for cute two-bite biscotti; just cut the baking time to 18-24 minutes.)
Let biscotti cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife cut into 1 inch wide pieces. Turn the oven to 300 F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.
Biscotti may be still a tad moist and chewy, so if you prefer it crisp let it sit uncovered overnight in a dry space. Serve and enjoy.