Saturday, March 29, 2008

Recipe: Pistachio Biscotti (Παξιμαδάκια με Φιστίκια)

Pistachio Biscotti are light, crunchy, and nutty. They’re simple to make and taste wonderful. They’re a great way to use extra egg whites and are low fat. What more can you ask of a cookie?

Last night I brought Pistachio Biscotti to Antonia’s birthday party. More than one person took seconds; the ultimate complement. I wish I had one right now. It’d be the perfect breakfast.

I ferried raw pistachios back to Alaska after my r
ecent trip to Seattle, but in the absence of pistachios, almonds are a fine substitute. The egg whites were left from making a Piemontese homemade pasta specialty called tajarin.

This recipe is so good I might start making tajarin just so I’ll have enough leftover egg whites to make Pistachio Biscotti.

Pistachio Biscotti (Παξιμαδάκια με Φιστίκια)
Makes about 36 cookies.
Adapted from
Gourmet Magazine, April 1998
The slices are easier to cut when the meringue is fully cool after its first baking.

6 egg whites
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup shelled raw (not roasted) pistachio nuts or blanched, slivered almonds
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F (325°F convection). Line the bottom and sides of a 9” x 9” baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue to beat until the meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks. Quickly beat in the vanilla. Sift the flour over the meringue and evenly distribute the pistachios over the flour. Fold in the flour and pistachios gently but thoroughly.

Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out the top. Bake until the meringue is set and golden on top, about 25 - 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, place it on a rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. Turn the baked meringue out onto the rack, carefully peel off parchment paper, and let cool completely.

Turn the oven down to 300°F (275°F convection).

Using a serrated knife, cut the baked meringue in half. Cut each half crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices about 1/2 inch apart on 2 baking sheets and bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, about 20 minutes total, or until the biscotti are pale golden and crisp. Turn off the oven, leave the cookies on the baking sheets and the oven door open, and let cool. Serve or store in an airtight container.


Lucy said...

And they're rather pretty - I was handed a little tin of beautiful Iranian peeled pistachios last night and these look like the ideal use for them!

Maria Verivaki said...

I was first introduced to these biscuits in Crete, they were my favorite biscuit for years. Now i don't buy them because most people in my family don't like nuts sticking to their teeth, but now that i have the recipe, i'll be able to make them for myself!

Lisa Turner said...

These would be perfect for breakfast. I really enjoy making biscuits and will have to try these at some point.

Ivy said...

These look terrific. I always used to waste my egg whites because my previous mixer would not beat them properly. My husband bought me a new mixer at Christmas and I've been making lots of things with the meringue. Yesterday I had leftover whites and made some pecan cookies. I can't stop eating them. Hope I can find some time to post them.

Anonymous said...

Laurie, these biscuits are the ultimate in simplicity. Pistachios are the perfect nutty ingredient for such a crunchy cookie. As always, wonderful!

Peter M said...

Fantastic paximadia Laurie. I'll surely try out this when I find a good deal on pistachios (not exactly cheap ya know).

desie said...

these are fantastic biscuits. it'd be quite difficult to stop at 1 (or 2 or 3).
and how coul i have missed your tajarin post? it sounds absolutely divine with the sage butter.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Beautiful! I'm a big fan of pistachios, so these are going on my 'must make soon' list!

Cakelaw said...

These look delicious Laurie. Biscotti is one thing that I am slightly scared of so have never made.

test it comm said...

That biscotti looks good! The green pistachios add a nice colour to it.

Joanne said...

This recipe looks so simple. I have never made biscotti before and have always wanted to give it a try. The Greek ouzo(anise) flavoured biscotti were never to my liking as a child. I think the flavour of ouzo was too sophisticated for my adolescent palate. Since then I have tried a myriad of Italian-inspired biscotti from local cafes which I have enjoyed a great deal. I especially like your biscotti because they are packed with nuts and I am a nut lover. Hmm, perhaps i will add chocolate chips to mine also because I'm also addicted to chocolate. Nuts and chocolate - I'm in heaven :D

Laurie Constantino said...

Very nice present, those peeled pistachios, Lucy. Those lovely green jewels make any food they're in look better.

Maria, these are very non-traditional biscotti being made just with egg whites and no oil. Next time I bake, I'll do a more traditional biscotti for you.

Lisa, yes, the perfect breakfast, the true breakfast of champions!

Ivy, pecan meringue cookies sound wonderful. I'm curious where you got the pecans - I don't think I've ever seen them in Greece.

Peter G, in this case, simple also means easy, which is the best kind of simple.

Peter M, you might check around on pricing pistachios - I've found no consistency to their price, and they aren't always expensive.

Maybahay,so glad you found the tajarin post - it is wonderfully good pasta.

Forkful, I hope you like them!

Cakelaw, welcome back! You shouldn't be afraid of biscotti (even these non-traditional ones), they are one of the easiest cookies in the world to make.

Kevin, thanks!

Bijoux, I suspect you're right - it's amazing how much our palates change as we age. With chocolate chips, these would be scary good.

Núria said...

Ooohhh Laurie, I love these ones!!!! Gosh! I could eat a dozen in a row. Gotta try this recipe :D

Anonymous said...

Love the sound of a biscotti made with only egg whites, the recipe I use has whole eggs. I like your solution of making pasta with the yolks and then making these! Now if only we could get some Turkish pistachios . . .

Laurie Constantino said...

Nuria, so could I! (Which is why I only make things like this to take away from my house.)

Manju, I've never had Turkish pistachios, although I'm sure they must be wonderful! I normally use whole eggs for biscotti, but this was a nice alternative version.

Chris said...

I love biscotti! These will be perfect for the pistachios I have in the fridge. :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I do have some pistachios crying out to me in my cupboard:D

Laurie Constantino said...

Chris, it's the crispiness that I like about them Lucky you for having pistachios in the fridge.

Val, you're another one with a well-stocked cupboard - and I know what you mean about chatty ingredients.