I love to bake. I would do it every day if I could. There are no complaints in my home as I churn out apple crisp, molasses cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, scones and other goodies. Thankfully, I like to make the treats more than I like to eat them. I am much more attracted to savory things - good cheese and bread, olives, wine,
Over the past couple of years I have been experimenting with different biscotti recipes: chocolate almond, orange chocolate, peppermint stick, gingerbread. All pretty delicious if I do say so myself. Last weekend I thought maybe I would try a biscotti version of a delicious traditional Roman dish: Cacio & Pepe. Salty pecorino cheese and coarsely ground black pepper are the stars in one of my favorite pasta dishes, so why not turn them into biscotti which in the savory variety are really decadent crackers. I combined a few recipes that I found and still not sure I have the perfect combination but as a first attempt, these are pretty delicious. I would like them to be a little crunchier and a little thinner but attempts to slice them thinner resulted in massive crumbling so I am going to have to figure that one out.
Here is the recipe I went with but I am going to tweak a little and see what I come up with next time. One tip is to definitely weigh (rather than measure) the grated cheese. There is a great variation in the amount when you weigh it and measure it and it will affect the finished product.
Cacio e Pepe Biscotti (adapted from Epicurious)
• 1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
• 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 4 1/2 ounces aged Pecorino Romano cheese (good quality)
• 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 4 large eggs
• 1 cup whole milk
• Special equipment: an electric coffee/spice grinder
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
Pulse peppercorns in grinder until coarsely ground.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quarter dough. Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log (about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch high). Transfer logs to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart.
Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper. Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
Carefully transfer 1 warm log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.
Many of you may ask, “Ashley, would these biscotti pair well with a glass of prosecco?” Yes. Yes they would.