Baking isn’t something that is automatically considered to be healthy, and generally speaking, it isn’t. I mean, who are we kidding when we know exactly how much butter, sugar, flour went into making that cake. But over the last couple of years where people have become more health conscious, I think baking has become healthier — there are recipes that have less sugar, less fat, use whole wheat flour or try substitute ingredients to deliver the cake, muffin or cookie as we know it but healthier. I think it’s amazing — not only in the ‘progression’ of baking sense but the fact that everyone can still enjoy baked treats a bit more freely.
I was trying to find something to bake for someone who was diabetic, and there are certainly a lot of desserts out there. However, a lot of them suggested using Splenda in replace of normal sugar. After researching a few reviews for these recipes, I was a bit skeptical of how it would turn out as most of them talked about an odd aftertaste with Splenda and I had never cooked with Splenda before. In the end, I went to my trusty recipe source (Taste.com) and found this recipe under a diabetic friendly recipe collection — a pistachio, fig and lemon biscotti. The bonus with this is that I didn’t have to use butter!
Shelling the pistachios was awfully tedious, but worth it for the bright green colours dotted in the biscotti. They didn’t turn out as crisp as I like my biscotti, but they still tasted pretty nice, and the natural sugar of the figs gave the biscotti enough sweetness. Having it with a nice pot of herbal tea made it a great afternoon snack.
Pistachio, fig and lemon biscotti
Makes about 30
- 1/3 cup pistachio kernels
- 3 egg whites
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 tbs finely grated lemon rind
- 3/4 cup plain flour, sifted
- 1/3 cup finely chopped dried figs
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 7 x 25cm (base measurement) bar pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and 2 long sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang.
- Place pistachios in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and set aside for 5 minutes or until skins soften. Drain. Peel off skins and dry on paper towel.
- Meanwhile, use an electric beater to whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition, until sugar dissolves. Add the lemon rind and whisk until combined.
- Combine flour and figs in a bowl. Use your fingers to separate figs and coat in flour. Fold fig mixture and pistachios into egg-white mixture until just combined.
- Spoon mixture into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Turn onto a wire rack and set aside for 1 hour or until cooled to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Use a serrated knife to cut loaf crossways into 5mm-thick slices. Place in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until crisp and golden. Cool on tray.