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Cantucci with pistachio and mandarin olive oil

This biscuit is a tasting tour of Italy minus the carbon emissions. The pistacchio is a superb Sicilian sensation, the mandarin olive oil a creation unique to the Apennines in Le Marche, the almonds evoke the intoxicating amaretti of the north , and the citrus peel is pure Amalfi coast. But these erstwhile warring factions unite and sing in sweet harmony in this delicious biscuit, which should really be eaten dipped in a glass of Vin Santo. And fine health to you too.


Recipe

  • Makes 30 biscuits

Ingredients

  • Almonds – 60g/2.2oz whole blanched
  • Pistachios – 80g/2.8oz shelled.
  • Eggs – 2 large
  • Flour – 250g/8.8oz
  • Caster sugar – 150g/5.3oz
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Mixed peel – 4 tsp
  • Vanilla bean paste – 1 tsp (an alternative is 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • Extra virgin olive oil crushed with mandarins – 6 tsp
  • Icing sugar for dusting
Almonds – 60g/2.2oz whole blanched Pistachios – 80g/2.8oz shelled. Eggs – 2 large Flour – 250g/8.8oz Caster sugar – 150g/5.3oz Baking powder – 1 tsp Mixed peel – 4 tsp Vanilla bean paste – 1 tsp (an alternative is 1 tsp vanilla extract) Extra virgin olive oil crushed with mandarins – 6 tsp Icing sugar for dusting

Method

Preheat the oven to 180oC/GM4/350oF. Spread the almonds on a baking tray and roast them for 5 minutes. Make sure that you don’t burn them though, they turn in an instant. I like to then skin the pistachio – it’s time consuming but makes the biscuits so much prettier. Toss them into a bowl of just boiled water, leave for 10 minutes, then start slipping the loose skins off.

Lightly beat the eggs, and then grab a big mixing bowl and chuck in the flour, sugar and baking powder. Give a quick mix and then add the nuts, eggs, peel, vanilla and mandarin olive oil. Mix it all well together with a spoon. Then with your hands scoop out a quarter of the mix and mould it into a thick sausage shape. Roll this in icing sugar and place it on a baking tray lined with bake-o-glide or parchment paper. Press down on the top of the sausage to flatten it a bit. Repeat this process with the rest of the mixture, and make sure you leave a decent space between the 4 sausages. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Once they are ready take them out of the oven and using a decent serrated knife carefully cut the sausages into 1cm thick slices. It’s tricky cutting through the nuts, and if it starts to fall part squash it back together into the right shape. Lay these out on the baking tray and pop them back in the oven for a few minutes. Leave to cool and store in a sealed container or eat once they’ve cooled down. I like to bake extra and give them as gifts in one of our Nudo tins.