I’ve gone a bit nuts over oranges this last month. I blame Catherine Phipps, whose lovely book Citrus pushed me over the edge. I’ve probably bought Suffolk’s entire stock of blood oranges, Sevilles and Jaffas on top of lemons, limes and grapefruit. More exotic varieties elude me.
These aren’t Catherine’s recipes but I do urge you to seek out her book, which is full of mouthwatering ideas. It was because of Catherine that I turned my blood orange rinds into candied peel, a bit time-consuming but easy and a great flavour burst in the biscotti.
And the ice cream couldn’t be simpler, assuming you have an ice cream machine. Just mix a pot of good-quality orange curd with 500g of full-fat Greek yoghurt and (if you have it) a couple of tablespoons of orange liqueur. I used the blood orange gin I made a while back. A little alcohol makes the ice cream softer to scoop but don’t use too much or it won’t freeze properly.
Chill the mix then follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. Spoon into a tub, cover the top with grease-proof paper to stop ice crystals forming, seal and put in the freezer until you want it. Allow a good 20 minutes thawing time in the fridge before trying to scoop. I served it with orange segments with a little orange caramel syrup poured over.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine, try following the instructions in this post.
The biscotti recipe is based on one from Felicity Cloake, who does all the hard work of comparing multiple recipes so we don’t have to, may she live forever. If you can’t get good-quality candied orange peel and don’t have the time or inclination to make it, I’d be inclined to leave it out. The little pots of mixed peel from the supermarket don’t cut it.
Pistachio and Orange Biscotti
150g shelled pistachio nuts
50g candied orange peel (optional), diced
250g golden caster sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
Zest of 1 lemon
250g plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn fine salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Icing sugar or flour, to dust.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Scatter the pistachios in a single layer on a baking tray and cook for about six minutes. Cool slightly then chop roughly.
If you’re using the fennel seeds put them in a mortar with a tablespoon of the sugar and grind them slightly smaller, without turning them to dust. Stir into the remaining sugar and add the lemon zest. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the sugar, then stir in the lightly beaten eggs. Add the nuts and chopped candied peel. Stir it all together and work it into a dough. It’ll look crumbly to start with but it will come together.
Dust your work surface lightly with flour or icing sugar, divide the dough in half and roll each half into a fat sausage about 5cm in diameter. Arrange them well apart on the lined baking tray – they spread quite a bit – flatten slightly and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and firm on the outside.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit. Reduce the heat to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2. Do not forget to do this or you will burn them as I did my first batch. When the logs are cool enough to handle but while they’re still warm, put them on a chopping block and cut into 1cm diagonal slices. A serrated bread knife works best. The endy bits are the cook’s perk.
Put the slices back on the baking tray and for hard, dunkable biscuits cook for a further 20-25 minutes, until golden, or for slightly softer ones give them 10-15 minutes. Then in both cases turn them over and give them 10-15 minutes on the other side. Allow to cool then store in an airtight tin.