Sunday, December 5, 2010

Carmela Soprano's Anisette Toast / Anna Sultana's Biscotti

It is December.
We have snow.
Christmas is coming.
Time to bake.

Carmela's Holidays chapter is packed with fish recipes.
Well, I told you last week why.
Italian Catholics sit down to a dinner of seven fish dishes on Christmas Eve.

Don't argue with tradition or you'll get a lump of coal in your stocking.

But, man does not live on fish alone.
A cookie goes better with coffee.

In the Small Events for Women Only chapter in Carmela's Entertaining with The Sopranos, there's a recipe that Italian babies are weaned on.
Anisette Toast.
No kidding.  
This is a hard, dry cookie that will split open any gum.

At first I didn't recognize the name.
We had always called them biscotti.
Everybody called them biscotti.
It's simple and sucks up coffee - or milk - like a sponge.


Grease a large cookie sheet
Preheat oven to 400ยบ 

Sift together
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat until foamy
6 large eggs

Add, about a tablespoon at a time
1 1/2 cups sugar
Beat constantly until fluffy.

1 tablespoon anise extract

Add gradually the dry ingredients.
Spread the mixture in the greased pan.
Bake 20 minutes 
(until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean).

Remove pan from oven, but don't turn off the oven.
Let the cake cool 5 minutes.
Invert on cutting board. 
With a serrated knife cut lengthwise in half, 
then cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Place the slices on their side on cookie sheets (ungreased)
Bake 10 minutes.
Cool on racks.  Store in airtight container.

Did Ma make biscotti?  Of course.
There was always a teething baby around in the 50s.

Eating biscotti sure reminds me of family get togethers.
Regular times.  Holiday times.  There was always something good to eat.

Would I make the Anisette Toast again?
I'm not getting any new teeth, but it's a nice low calorie snack.
And it keeps a long time.

Another recipe down.  Thirty-four more to go.

My German friends had something similar to biscotti.
They had teething babies, too.
Some things Italians and Germans shared.
Some things were different.  

That's another story.

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