I think I’ve mentioned Yotam Ottolenghi on this blog before – he’s the genius that runs this restaurant in London and wrote this book. Anyway, I’ve been very in love with that book of late, and cooking loads of stuff from it, and enthusing over the things I still want to make but haven’t gotten round to. And then – for my birthday – my lovely friend Nicole sent me Ottolenghi’s latest book, Plenty. So much inspiration!
These biscuits are utterly amazing. I didn’t have cardamom, and used 2 tsp of whole coriander (dhania) seeds, which I crushed in a similar way.
Shelling the pistachio nuts is a bit of a labour of love. You have to be in the mood. They’re so worth it though…
8 cardamom pods
200g unsalted butter
25 g ground rice (you can grind it in a coffee grinder)
240 g flour
1/2 tsp salt
35 g icing sugar
60 g shelled pistachio nuts
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
Use a pestle and mortar to crush the cardamom pods. Then remove the skins and work the seeds to a fine powder.
In a food processor, beat butter, ground rice, flour, salt, ground cardamom and icing sugar. Run the machine til they turn a smooth paste, then stop immediately.
Turn out the dough. Dusting it with a little flour, roll it with your hands into a log 3 to 4 cm in diameter. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.
While the dough chills, chop the pistachios finely with a sharp knife, but not as fine as ground almonds. Or you can use a food processor, and pulse them a few times til they are ground with some chunkier bits remaining. Scatter the pistachios on a flat surface.
Brush the log with beaten egg and roll it in the ground pistachios. Wrap back in cling film and leave in the fridge to set for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 2. Remove the cling film and cut the log into slices 5mm to 1 cm thick. Lay them out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, spacing them at least 2 cm apart. Dust with the vanilla sugar.
Bake the biscuits for about 20 minutes. They must not take on too much colour – they should just reach a pale golden colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before storing.
Makes about 20.