Psychoanalysis Unit


Newsletter Recipes

Praline Biscotti

from The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking 2014

baked by Alex Truscott


Alex's tip for beginners: Use a reasonably big pan for the praline. I've made this twice and burned the praline a little both times (it still tastes good if the sugar has only just burned). I'm planning on trying a bigger pan to avoid the sugar on the bottom burning while the top is only just melting.


For the hazelnut praline:

100g white caster sugar

100g unblanched hazelnuts


For the biscotti dough:

150g unsalted butter, softened

200g caster sugar

1 medium free-range egg plus 1 yolk at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

375g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

  1. Start by making the praline. Put the caster sugar and nuts into a medium heavy-based pan. Set over a low heat and let the sugar melt gently, occasionally shaking the pan and stirring gently with a metal spoon. As soon as the sugar has melted turn up the heat to medium and let the syrup bubble away until it turns chestnut brown - you can stir gently now and then with the metal spoon so the nuts brown evenly. Tip the mixture on to an oiled baking sheet and spread evenly with the metal spoon. Leave until completely cold and set.
  2. Break up the praline into chunks. Put them into a food processor and grind to make coarse crumbs with a few larger lumps (you can also chop up the praline with a large knife or bash it up - in a plastic bag - with a rolling pin). Set aside until needed (you can make the praline a day in advance; keep tightly covered).
  3. Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit/Gas 4. Put the soft butter into a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a free-standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) and beat well with a wooden spoon (or the mixer) until very creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg and the yolk with the vanilla, just to mix, then gradually add to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and mix in with a plastic spatula or wooden spoon. As soon as all the flour has been incorporated, add the praline and work in until evenly distributed. Put your hands into the bowl and bring the dough together into a ball.
  6. Divide the dough in half. Line the clean baking sheet with baking paper. Lift one portion of dough on to one side of the sheet. Lightly dust your hands with flour, then mould and shape the dough into a flat brick shape about 30 x 7.5 and 1.5cm thick. Repeat with the second portion of dough, setting this block slightly apart from the first to allow for expansion.
  7. Bake in the heated oven for about 30 minutes until light brown and firm. Remove the sheet from the oven and set it on a heatproof surface; turn the oven down to 150 degrees Celsius/300 degrees Fahrenheit/Gas 2. Leave the biscotti blocks to cool for 10 minutes, then slide them, still on the baking paper, on to a chopping board. With a serrated knife cut the blocks across, on a slight diagonal, into slices about 1.5cm thick - it will be easier if you use  gentle sawing motion.
  8. Line the baking sheet with a fresh piece of baking paper. Set the slices cut-side down on the sheet. Return the biscotti to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave until cold. Store in an airtight container for about a week.