These Sour Cherry, Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti are probably my all-around favorite dessert. They follow a very traditional Italian biscotti recipe, and I always get tons of compliments for them.
What makes them so special? Glad you asked. There is no butter, margarine or any kind of shortening in them. It makes the biscotti lighter and less calorie dense. They are easy and quick to make. They are practically impossible to mess up. And they always taste delicious, even if you mess up a bit along the way. Having a potluck or a bake sale at work? Don’t feel like cooking but really want to bring something homemade? This is it. These puppies never let me down.
I adapted this recipe from David Lebovitz’s Room For Dessert book with a few modifications. By the way, if you haven’t read this book and are interested in baking at all, you must read this book. It’s a visual feast with a powerfully inspirational content. David’s comments and tips are well thought out and useful, both for experienced and novice bakers. It’s one of my favorite dessert books. Anyway, back to the biscotti. Wonderfully crisp and crunchy on the outside, but more tender on the inside, packed with nuts and berries. Dangerously tasty and addictive! My only change was increasing the ratio of pistachio and berries in the recipe, for I like less of the dough and more of the ‘good stuff’. David suggests cranberries or cherries, I use the both. Though, if I were to choose, dried sour cherries would be my preference. I do have to admit, finding good quality unsweetened dried sour cherries can be a challenge, but I see more and more of them at local groceries and online. Oh, and I glaze mine with an egg wash – they do look more elegant and appetizing that way.
Perhaps, the only step where one can really mess up and ruin the end product is forgetting to first beat eggs and sugar before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. Happened to me once. I had to start over because that batch turned out really bad.
The rest is a cake walk. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Fold in nuts and berries.
Form a log an place on a parchment paper lined backing sheet. The dough will be very sticky, so you may need to flour your hands to form the log and transfer it to the baking sheet. I just wet my hands. For me it works better. Glaze with an egg wash.
Bake. I usually like my biscotti a tad crispier, so I bake 5-7 minutes longer than recommended in the instruction below, until deep golden brown.
Slice. Bake again. Flip and bake again. Cool. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or latte.
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Room For Dessert book.
- 135 grams (2/3 cup) granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 230 grams (1¾ cup) all-purpose flour
- 120 g. (1 cup) shelled, unsalted pistachios (coarsely chopped or whole)
- 125 g. (1 cup) dried cranberries
- 175 g. (1 cup) dried sour cherries
- 1 egg for egg wash
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs on high speed until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add vanilla extract and beat for a few seconds more.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg mixture and beat until combined.
- Fold in the sour cherries, pistachios and cranberries.
- Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and roll into a log shape, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 3½ inches (9 cm) wide. You may have to flour your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky. Alternatively, you can wet your hands to for the log without adding extra flour.
- Whisk one egg with a splash of cold water or milk until pale yellow and perfectly mixed.
- Using a pastry brush paint the log with a light, even coat of egg wash.
- Place the log on the baking sheet and bake on the middle rack for about 30 minutes or until firm to the touch.
- Remove the log from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
- Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into about ½ inch (1.25 cm) slices.
- Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.
- Makes about 20 - 24 biscotti.