(Adapted from my secret blog elsewhere)

We’ve been to our secret hideaway in Tuscany a few times in the last several years, including the most miraculous escape during the Times of Covid™, and I have literally thousands of photos. One of the (very many) best things is the cantuccini we get from a little shop in Castiglione della Pescaia. We eat these delicious little bundles of almond and pistachio with the coffee our landlady supplies, and we have not been able to find anything that quite adequately substitutes for either.

Making my own cantuccini has been preying on my mind for some time now, and a few years I finally gave it a go. Just as for tiramisu, there are no two recipes alike on the interwebs. Some call for Vino Sante, others call for butter (blasphemy); I even saw one recipe with olive oil. Some have sugar, others don’t, bizarrely.

So I decided to make my own. Again.


  • Two eggs
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 cup (6 oz) OO grade flour and a little more for handling
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Zest of a small orange
  • 100 g (1 pack) whole blanched almonds, toasted
  • 3 oz (~1/2 pack) pistachio kernels, blanched for 2 minutes to enhance the colour
  • Splash of almond essence (optional)
  • 1 shot homemade redcurrant (or sloe or whatever you have) gin


Preheat your oven to fan 190ºC or equivalent.

  1. Beat together the sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy, ma non troppo
  2. Stir in all the other ingredients, the gin going in last
  3. Mix to a dough
  4. Add a little flour if needed so you can handle the dough. You can’t handle the dough
  5. Roll/shape/squish into a couple of tubes and lay out on a lined baking tray
  6. Bake for 15 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and stand for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 170ºC fan
  8. Cut the mounds into ~1/2 inch slices
  9. Bake for a further 15 minutes

Enjoy! (Twice, if you like, because that’s what ‘biscotti’ means.)

And while the biscotti themselves are quite the thing, even Illy coffee (which is all I drink these days) doesn’t have quite the punch of whatever it is that Barbara serves in Tuscany. Must be the water.


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