Biscotti and Vin Santo–Thanksgiving Week 2011, Day 2   7 comments

I love Thanksgiving…too much drink, too much food, and most of it exotic.  After yesterday’s visit to Casa Paolo I had a hankering for some Tuscan Pasta (farfalle, sausages, cannelini, some light spices, a little escarole soup and some stewed tomatoes), so headed up to Franco and Anna’s (a superb Italian deli in our neighbourhood a dude in Lechlade tipped me off to, months ago).  Anna stocks the only decent fresh sausage in the south of England (and the cured meats look as good as what you might find in the Polish places around) and she knows (or is related to) every Italian in the county, it seems, so is always worth a visit.  I also wanted to ask about ordering some Vin Santo for the Christmas holidays (this is something amazing if you dip almond biscotti into it–a discovery from our first trip to Firenze back in 2002).

Turns out, they stock this stuff all the time at less than you pay for it in Italy, so I got a bottle and some almonds and went home to do some baking:

You toast a cup of almonds 10 minutes at 175°C and let them cool.  Meanwhile, mix 2 cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking soda, and a cup of sugar; also, melt a knob of butter (an ounce or two–use a shot glass, ’cause we know you have one).  Once the butter is back to room temperature splash in some vanilla extract (1 or 2 teaspoons) and three eggs, stir ’em up and pour into the flour mix, and knead.  Once it holds together start dusting with flour and pulling through the bowl until the stuff at the side starts to cling.  Dust it one more time and push the almonds in, letting it sit for 5-10 minutes for the liquids to absorb and the lump to thereby dry a little.  Roll into two cylinders about 16 inches long and bake on a floured sheet at 150°C (300°F) for 40 minutes.  Cut at a diagonal, once cool, into 1/2″ wide slices and toast another 50 minutes at the same temperature.  Divine.

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