With crispy and crunchy texture, nutty, fragrant and zesty flavour, these lemon and pistachio biscotti are made for dunking! Thanks to their crispy texture, these delicious biscuits have really long shelf life and will last for weeks, when stored correctly.
Enjoy them with your favourite cup of tea, coffee or any other hot beverage of your choice!
Ingredients and substitutes
This biscotti recipe is made from a simple dough, enhanced by fragrant lemon zest and mixture of pistachios and almonds. Here's what you will need, and some swaps you can make to customise this bake:
Caster sugar - as always, I use caster sugar in most of my bakes, as it has finer texture. But traditional, white granulated sugar will work just as good.
Eggs - Use large eggs, make sure they are at room temperature before using them in the recipe.
Almond extract - adds wonderful aroma and enhances the flavour of these cookies/ biscuits . If you don't have any almond extract, you can simply add teaspoon vanilla instead.
Olive oil - use mild-flavoured olive oil or replace it with melted and cooled unsalted butter.
Limoncello - the addition of this Italian liquor elevates the lemon flavour even more, but it's totally optional. If you don't want to use it, just skip it. You can also add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract or 1 teaspoon of lemon juice instead.
Pistachios - use shelled pistachios. If you want, you can chop them roughly, but I never bother. If you are not a fan of pistachio nuts, stick to almonds only.
Almonds - it is best to use whole almonds, but you can use blanched almonds too. As with pistachios, there is no need to chop them.
Flour - plain, all-purpose flour is used in this recipe, but you can also experiment with different types of flour here. This recipe will also work with gluten-free flour.
Baking powder - you can substitute baking powder for ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
Cardamom - I just adore the fragrant and flavour of this spice, but you can swap it for cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice. Or just skip it completely if you are not a fan.
Lemons - I used my favourite Sorrento lemons, which are extremely aromatic. The lemon peel on this verity is also very rich in natural lemon oil. You will need at least 2 tablespoon of the lemon zest. Any type of unwaxed lemon will be fine to use.
How to make biscotti
Place all the dry ingredients and lemon zest in a bowl and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer or kitchen whisk, beat together the eggs, sugar, almond extract, olive oil and limoncello, until you have pale and fluffy mixture.
Add the pistachios and almonds to the egg mixture and mix it all together. Tip the dry ingredients into the bowl with wet ingredients and fold until well combined.
Transfer the dough onto well floured surface, and divide dough in half. Using lightly floured hands, shape the dough into two logs and transfer them into baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crisp on top.
After first bake, remove them from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, or until the logs are cool enough to handle. It's important not to leave them to cool for too long, as these pistachio biscotti will become harder and more difficult to cut. They may also start snapping and breaking when you start slicing them, so make sure you stick to 10 minutes of cooling or less.
Transfer cooled logs onto the chopping board and use a large, sharp serrated knife to slice them at an angle. Each slice should be about 2 cm wide, but you don't have to be super-precise. Place the biscotti back on a cookie sheet/ baking tray, cut side down and bake at lower temperature for 6 more minutes on each side.
Storing and freezing instructions
What's really great about these lemon pistachio biscotti is that they last for a really long time! When stored in the airtight container, they will last for good 2-3 weeks.
You can also freeze biscotti for up to 3 months, in couple of different ways:
- You can freeze half-done biscotti. After their first bake, allow them to cool, then transfer to the freezer-friendly container. Bake them for the second time whenever you are ready.
- Freeze fully-baked biscotti, in the freezer-friendly container. To thaw, remove them from their container and allow them to sit at room temperature until they are back to life.
They may loose some of their crunchy texture after thawing them, but you can simply re-heat them in the oven to get them crispy again. Here's a link to a really detailed instructions on freezing the biscotti.
Is biscotti supposed to be hard?
Yes! They're meant to be hard and crumbly, it is what makes them perfect for dunking in hot beverages.
What else can I mix into the dough?
Almost anything! You can use any nuts or dried fruit, chocolate chips or different spices to create different variations of this recipe. Comes December, and these would make perfect edible gifts for friends and family (my Cranberry and Amaretto Biscotti is a perfect, festive recipe!).
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes you can. Simply swap the plain flour for gluten-free flour, and make sure you use gluten-free baking powder.
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Lemon and pistachio biscotti
- large baking sheet
- baking paper
- large serrated knife
- 150 g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon limoncello optional
- 100 g pistachios
- 75 g almonds
- 250 g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 large lemons zest only
- Preheat the oven to 175 C (fan) and line two medium or one large baking tray with baking paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, then add almond extract, olive oil and limoncello. Whisk for another minute or so, until all the ingredients are combined. Tip in the pistachios and almonds and using a spoon or spatula, combine them into the mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, ground cardamom and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with wet ingredients and using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold all ingredients together until combined.
- Tip the mixture into a well floured surface. Make sure your hands are well floured too. Divide the dough into two pieces, then shape each into a rough log (mine were about 15cm long and about 7cm wide, but no need to be precise here). You may want to use dough scraper, as it makes this process a lot easier, but you can also do this by hand. Transfer each of the logs onto baking sheet/ tray and bake for 20 minutes until golden.
- Remove the baked logs from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 C. Place the logs on a chopping board and using a large, serrated knife, cut the logs at a slight angle into slices, about 2 cm thick. Place the slices cut side down on a baking tray and bake again for 6 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Enjoy!
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
- caster sugar can be swapped for granulated sugar
- if no almond extract is available, use some vanilla extract instead
- olive oil can be replaced with melted butter
- if you don't want to use limoncello, you can skip it, or add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract instead
- The dough will be sticky, so make sure you flour the work surface AND your hands really well.
- Allow the biscotti dough to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, so it is cool enough to handle and to slice. Do not leave it any longer than 10 minutes, as the dough will become really crispy and hard and it will result in biscotti breaking and snapping as you slice them.
- Storing: the biscotti will keep really well in the airtight container for few weeks.
- Freezing: you can freeze biscotti for up to 3 months, in freezer-friendly container. To thaw, remove them from their container and let them sit at room temperature for few hours. If they have lost their crunchy texture, you can pop them in the oven at 170 C for 5 minutes. See the blog post for more ways to freeze the biscotti.