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Recipe needed: cantucci

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Jenise

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Recipe needed: cantucci

by Jenise » Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:53 pm

I'm not certain about what exactly defines cantucci, but in Tuscany we had these wonderfully nutty biscuits that were much lighter (full of holes) and smaller than biscotti that were called by this name. They gave the impression of having been made with a lot of egg white to achieve that lightness. Does anybody have a good recipe for same?
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Mike Filigenzi » Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:58 am

Well, I don't have a recipe but I was browsing a website that a friend sent me just now (Murray's cheeses) when I noticed that they sell a commercial version. They state that they're similar to biscotti but not twice-baked, for what that's worth.

This got me going, so I checked a slim cookbook I have that specializes in biscotti (called Biscotti) and found nothing. I checked The Italian Baker and found nothing. So I checked the 'net and found a number of recipes that show them to be basically identical to almond biscotti or Biscotti di Prato.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying, "Hell if I know."


Mike
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Jenise » Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:54 am

Mike, thanks for checking. Short version of long response: I had a similar lack of luck on the internet. Went through my books, too: nothing. But I know what I tasted there: and they weren't the same as biscotti. They were crunchier and a thid as dense, if that. Wouldn't seem likely they're not twice baked. And like I said in my post, big holes. Like sourdough bread vs. potato bread. We ate them in Tuscany and the locals called them cantucci, not biscotti.

I'd think I was dreaming except that not long after we came back from Tuscany (meaning within a year or two), and after trying to find a recipe for same, there was a Wine Speck article about Italian food that included a recipe that made me go, "Yeah, THAT'S IT!" Recipe searches upon returning from Tuscany (1994ish) had been fruitless, so it was momentous to find it in that article. Of course, I didn't save it. I figured there'd be others if I ever wanted it again.

Well, now I do. But what surprises me is that it's become habit to expect things that didn't surface in searches ten years ago to surface now--there's just so much more out there. Heck, a few weeks ago I went looking for a movie made in the late 70's that has never been released on DVD because of some issue between the Paul Gallico estate and the producers. Within a day I found a British film forum where there was a long thread about it, and within 24 hours of that I'd connected via private message with a gentleman who not only knew the film, but knew the actress who starred in it. The film is so rare that the only four copies known to be in existence are at UCLA and in a European museum. But through this man's connection with the actress, a bootleg copy of the film showed up in my mailbox just a few days ago. What the internet makes possible is nothing short of stupendous. But a cantucci recipe, or a copy of the one published in a big mag like the Spectator? Oddly, no. Nada. Zip.

Thanks for looking on my behalf.
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Christina Georgina » Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:11 pm

I made them once from a Guliano Bugiali recipe. Harder than rocks - not like the ones I ate in Florence. It was quite awhile ago and I might have tinkered with the recipe !?! to make them inedible.
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by RichardAtkinson » Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:04 pm

Jenise,

I found this recipe, but it looks like a standard Biscotti recipe. Unfortunately the picture didn't transfer. Here is the website I got the recipe from.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cantucci-B ... etail.aspx

The picture of the finished product does look quite a bit more airy than standard Biscotti. With lots of holes in the finished cookie.

Richard

Cantucci Biscotti
SUBMITTED BY: Rosina
"These are so crunchy they should be dunked (Coffee, Latte, Espresso, Vino, etc.). If you don't have hazelnuts, use almonds instead."

Original recipe yield:
3 dozen (approx.)

INGREDIENTS
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 cups white sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 6 eggs
• 1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoons almond extract
• 2 cups hazelnuts - toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped

DIRECTIONS
1. Mix dry ingredients (except nuts) in a large bowl. Mix the eggs and liquids in a separate bowl. Add liquids to the dry ingredients gradually, mixing until dough is stiff. Do not overmix. Stir in or work in the nuts.

2. Shape dough into two rectangles 3 inches wide, 15 inches long. Place on greased cookie sheet.

3. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove baked rectangles from oven and let stand until cool to the touch.

4. Using sharp knife, slice rectangles crosswise into 3/4 inch slices. Place back on cookie sheet, sliced side down, and bake again for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Store in airtight container. These store well for weeks.
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Barb Freda » Sat Jan 13, 2007 1:34 am

My son did a one day cooking course at Badia di Coltbuono (no one check spelling on thata)--they made cantucci (I even a a photo of them doing it)--If I can find the folder he brought back, it may have Badia's recipe in it...

But that's a year and a half and one move later....we shall see.

b
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Barb Freda » Sat Jan 13, 2007 1:39 am

Serendipity. There is no reason I should have found this...

Cantuccini from Badia a Coltibuono

500 g. flour
400 g sugar
250 g dark almonds (with skins)
30 g. butter
5 aniseed seeds (that's what it says...)
3 whole eggs
1 packet dried yeast
1/2 glass vin santo

Preheat oven to 180 C

Create a well with the flour and put in all of the other ingredients into the middle and mix quickly.

Line a baking tray with parchment. With your hands, gather up the mixture and place onto the baking tray forming a long log. Put in the oven for 30 min.

Once cooked and still warm, cut the "log" into the classic cantuccini shapes. Put back into the oven for a further 3 min. Serve with a glass of Vinsanto wine.
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Jenise » Sat Jan 13, 2007 1:59 pm

Excellent! Richard and Barb, thank you! Interesting that both recipes have the addition of the liquor.

Oh, and guess what arrived in the mail Thursday? The Italian Baker book Barb reccomended. And it has a cantucci recipe in it, too! That one's more similar to the one Richard posted in that it has more eggs, which I said in my post I expected to be needed to get to the holy, almost-lacy (compared to the density of normal biscotti) texture I remember. Which I believe we purchased at--get this, Barb--Badia a Coltibuono. Could be wrong, but that was one of the three wineries closest to our villa so we shopped there.
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Mike Filigenzi » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:10 pm

Jenise wrote:Excellent! Richard and Barb, thank you! Interesting that both recipes have the addition of the liquor.

Oh, and guess what arrived in the mail Thursday? The Italian Baker book Barb reccomended. And it has a cantucci recipe in it, too! That one's more similar to the one Richard posted in that it has more eggs, which I said in my post I expected to be needed to get to the holy, almost-lacy (compared to the density of normal biscotti) texture I remember. Which I believe we purchased at--get this, Barb--Badia a Coltibuono. Could be wrong, but that was one of the three wineries closest to our villa so we shopped there.


Hmmm. My copy of The Italian Baker doesn't have anything in it by that name. I wonder if there's a new edition out?

Mike
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Jenise » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:53 pm

You're right. But look at the Biscotti di Prato on page 409. "Tuscans serve them after dinner with Vin Santo". I didn't know to look for them by that name--in Tuscany they were called Cantucci--but a friend saw my post here and queried a cooking school teacher she knows in Florence, and that woman came back with 'Biscotti di Prato'.

And while I have you on the topic of Italian baking, check out the Espresso and Walnut coffee cake on page 375. I just made that--WOW. I used black walnuts, and the flavor is amazing. The coffee disappears into the walnut flavor. I didn't find it as moist as the description, though, I'd be tempted to add some milk, or more butter.
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Mike Filigenzi » Sat Jan 13, 2007 3:20 pm

Y'know, I saw the Biscotti di Prato recipe whn I was looking through the book earlier and thought that sounded close.

That coffee cake sounds great, and it looks pretty easy. I'm making focaccia from that book today, but the coffee cake will go on the list as something to take into work for our morning break.


Mike
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Barb Freda

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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Barb Freda » Sat Jan 13, 2007 3:43 pm

Also, the Badia recipe calls for yeast, which may help it have that lighter, chewier (as opposed to crunchy) texture..I'm not a baker, but I thought that was an interesting addition.

Okay. Now I have to make these, too.
My diet does NOT thank this board.

Heh. But my stomach (and my family) does.

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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Mark Willstatter » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:56 pm

It sounds like you've got plenty of ideas here but if not, let me know and I can transcribe another one. I found a receipe for "Cantuccini" in "Baking with Julia", one of the later books that has nothing really to do with Julia except her name. They're described as "very crunchy" and meant to go with vin santo. No alcohol, no butter, flavored with almonds and vanilla extract.
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Re: Recipe needed: cantucci

by Jenise » Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:37 pm

Barb Freda wrote:Also, the Badia recipe calls for yeast, which may help it have that lighter, chewier (as opposed to crunchy) texture..I'm not a baker, but I thought that was an interesting addition.

Okay. Now I have to make these, too.
My diet does NOT thank this board.

Heh. But my stomach (and my family) does.

B


Barb! I missed the yeast ingredient. That DOES make it make an interesting addition and might get that lightness we hoped for. At the very least, Annabelle and I will have to preview both methods!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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