When we were in Siena, Italy, we saw these delicious-looking biscuits everywhere, but as they weren’t vegan we couldn’t try them. I vowed to create a vegan version when we got home, and here they are. Some people call these biscotti. This simply means biscuits in Italian and derives from the Latin word meaning ‘twice baked’. Cantucci is the more accurate term for these almond-flavoured slices from Tuscany, which are often served with, and dipped in, a glass of the local fortified wine, Vin Santo. Cantucci keep for several weeks in an airtight container, and make great Christmas presents.
Ingredients (makes 20–24)
- 1 large apple, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup (160 g) white flour
- 1 cup (140 g) wholemeal flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons light oil, e.g. sunflower
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2–3 drops almond extract
- 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup (140 g) almonds, raw, skins left on
Oven: 170°C/325°F/Gas 3
Grease and line a large baking tray.
Cook the apple with a little water until it softens, then mash to a puree. (If you don’t have time for this step, you can use bottled apple sauce.)
Sift the flours, baking powder and salt. Mix the oil, extracts and half a cup of the apple puree in a jug or small bowl. Add the liquid, sugar, lemon zest and whole almonds to the flour and mix to a soft dough. If too dry, sprinkle tablespoons of water one at a time until the dough comes together. Divide into two and roll into log shapes, about five cm (2″) across and 2 cm (1″) high.
Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Cut each log diagonally into slices about 2 cm (1″) thick, using a sharp knife so you can cut easily through the whole almonds. Lay the slices on their sides and bake for 15 minutes, then turn the slices over and bake for a further 15 minutes until golden brown and quite firm. Cool on a wire rack.
Divine Vegan Desserts by Lisa Fabry
Published by Wakefield Press, RRP $24.95
Purchase Divine Vegan Desserts from Booktopia for $23.45
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