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Spicy Pumpkin Biscotti – Let’s Make Christmas

Biscuits, Gifts, World Cuisine | 8th November 2011 | By

Having mentioned the C word in my last post, I am fully committed to it now. In a bid to try and remember what Christmas is all about and to get away from the avid commercialism associated with it, Vanessa Kimbell has created a thought provoking Let’s Make Christmas event. The idea is to inspire people to make their own Christmas gifts this year – or at least some of them. As I’ve always tried to make a few of my own each year, I heartily approved of this sentiment. Then Vanessa came up with a second Let’s Make Christmas event which I was also keen to participate in. She is  hosting a food blogger gift swap – in Fortnum and Masons no less. I haven’t been to this shop in many many a long year, but it still lives on in my memory as a perfect Aladdin’s cave of foodie delights. I really didn’t want to miss out on this one.

But oh what to make, what to make? It needed to be something light, that would travel well and could be made well in advance. My first thought was biscotti, as the ones I made last year were so good. On reflection though, I thought this wasn’t very original so contemplated making these chocolate oranges instead. But, having mulled that over, I rejected it, mostly because the only organic oranges I could find were thin skinned and your really need thick skinned pithy oranges for this. Hmmmmm, various biscuits, brownies, tiffin, truffles all came to mind. Then I was sent a copy of Cox Cookies & Cake to review. The review will follow in a later post, but one of the recipes that leapt straight out of the page was this one – oh well back to the biscotti idea after all. But pumpkin biscotti! Surely not many others will be doing that. And we did manage to grow quite a few large pumpkins this year, which nicely tied into my seasonal theme. Having been inspired by Karen’s mixed spice over at Lavender & Lovage, I was keen to make my own for this recipe. The only missing ingredient was chocolate, but chocolate dipped biscotti can only be a good thing, surely?

Something this special required a freshly ground spice mix. I often make my own mixed spice for baking and this was one of those times.

Mixed Spice Recipe
  • Ground 2 inches of a cinnamon quill in the coffee grinder with 1/4 tsp of cloves, 2 star anise, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, 1/4 tsp black pepper corns, the seeds from 5 cardamom pods and 1/4 tsp allspice berries.
  • Added a good grating of nutmeg then pounded it further in a pestle and mortar to make it as fine as possible.

So here you have my first batch of pumpkin biscotti. I shall make some more for the big do in London nearer the time. I halved the recipe, although the mixture was so wet (probably because I added more pumpkin than I should have) I had to add quite a few spoonfuls of additional flour to the mix, so this is really quite a bit more than half. Here’s how I did it:

Spicy Pumpkin Biscotti Recipe
  • Steamed 80g of peeled and chopped pumpkin (Boston Marrow) flesh for 15 minutes until tender.
  • Left to drain for a good half an hour to ensure it wouldn’t be too wet.
  • Mashed with a fork.
  • Toasted 100g mixed nuts in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes until just starting to brown.
  • Placed in a pan and fried them in 15g butter for a few minutes.
  • Sieved 225g flour (100g white, 125g spelt) into a bowl with 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp of the mixed spice.
  • Added 175g dark brown sugar.
  • Made a well in the centre and added 1 large egg and the mashed pumpkin.
  • Mixed this in, starting in the middle and working outwards.
  • Added about 3 tbsp more of spelt as the mixture was very wet.
  • Spooned onto a baking tray lined with a silicone mat in a rough log shape.
  • Baked for 25 minutes at 180C.
  • Left to cool for 20 minutes.
  • Cut 1 cm slices diagonally across the log with a bread knife (17 long pieces in total).
  • Placed the slices on two lined trays and baked at 160C for a further 15 minutes.
  • Left to cool on a wire rack.
  • Melted 60g 72% dark chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
  • Coated the ends of 8 of the biscotti in the melted chocolate by means of dipping and pouring it over with a teaspoon.
  • Left on a wire rack to set.
  • Placed in a jar and tied a ribbon and tag around it (I use old Chrismas cards as tags).

Nutty, spicy and delicious, I thought these had the necessary star quality to travel with me to London. I was particularly pleased with the spice mix, which was so much more aromatic for being freshly ground. These were not overly sweet as evinced by CT’s first comment on biting into a piece, “mmmm, tastes like a sausage” – great! However, once covered in chocolate, no more mention was made of sausages, just pleasant grunts of satisfaction were evinced. The only thing I would do differently is to make much smaller pieces – I had to find a very tall jar for these to fit in.


  1. The KitchenMaid

    8th November 2011 at 8:11 am

    These look amazing, just perfect for Fortnums (sigh). Thanks for the reminder about your choc orange sticks, I remember being in complete awe of them last year (where has the time gone?) Must get organised and do some Christmas baking!

  2. Foodycat

    8th November 2011 at 8:35 am

    Pumpkin biscotti is a lovely idea! I am prepared for Christmas to happen at all!

  3. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    8th November 2011 at 8:41 am

    So perfect for this event. The recipe sounds amazing!!! I yhink you neednt have worried how will you present them? I’m so looking forward to meeting everyone aren’t you?

  4. Hanna

    8th November 2011 at 10:00 am

    Love biscotti, and these look brilliant for the event. Im having serious headaches on what to make for it!

  5. Johanna GGG

    8th November 2011 at 11:01 am

    I was just marvelling at your jar when I saw you saying it was hard to find – sounds like a great flavour combination

  6. Brownieville Girl

    8th November 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I’d be more than happy to recieve these as a Christmas gift (she says wistfully!!!!)

  7. manu

    8th November 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Grat event and beautiful Biscotti…I can’t believe Christmas is almost here….time flys!!

  8. Mozart's Girl

    8th November 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Sound – and look – absolutely delicious! Looking forward to meeting you there, it should be a great afternoon! Rachel x

  9. Kate@whatkatebaked

    8th November 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Delicious! Ohhh- I can’t wait til the event and seeing everyone’s festive creations!

  10. Karen S Booth

    8th November 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Can’t wait to meet you and what a GREAT way you have presented them too! It is going to be fun!

  11. Laura@ howtocookgoodfood

    8th November 2011 at 7:50 pm

    As with everyone else, I cannot wait to meet you next week! I am so looking froward to it and I think your biscotti sound divine xx

  12. Angie's Recipes

    9th November 2011 at 5:26 am

    wow I have never tried pumpkin biscotti..they look amazing!

  13. thelittleloaf

    9th November 2011 at 9:09 am

    These look gorgeous – I’d be over the moon to receive a batch in the post! I’m starting to embrace the whole Christmas thing now – 6 weeks to go and why not feel festive?! 🙂

  14. Baking Addict

    9th November 2011 at 10:51 pm

    What a great idea. I love the packaging too. Am really gutted that I can’t join in this wonderful event but I’m sure I’ll read all about it from everyone. Have fun!

  15. Jill @ MadAboutMacarons

    10th November 2011 at 12:18 pm

    What a lovely idea for the Christmas Event. Wow – pumpkin biscotti already something else, but dipped in that chocolate just puts them on another level. Perfect for Christmas!

  16. Janice

    10th November 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Would never have thought of pumpkin in a biscotti. I haven’t had much luck making these, they never seem to come out quite right, too hard or too soft.

  17. C

    10th November 2011 at 10:39 pm

    They look great – I love biscotti. I haven’t even started to think what I could make this year yet….

  18. Chele

    11th November 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I really must make it to this F&M place, sounds like just my cup of tea. Lovely biscotti, I would never have thought of a pumpkin flavoured one so you’ve introduced a new concept to me with this one ;0)

  19. Choclette

    11th November 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Lucy – I bet you’ve been to Fortnum’s an awful lot more recently than me 😉 Will look out for those orange sticks on your blog. Your date fudge was on my list for this year, but I wouldn’t mind doing the oranges again – everyone loved them.

    FoodyCat – thank you. I usually find Christmas comes up and bites me and it’s an awful shock.

    Dom – thank you. Yes, really looking forward to it – a bit nervous too though, if truth be told. I don’t get out much 😉

    Hanna – thank you. You’ll come up with something deliciously creative, you always do.

    Johanna – thank you. Have another batch in the oven at the moment and they are smelling amazing.

    BVG – ahh don’t be wistful – it might save you a broken tooth 😉

    Manu – thank you. I’m looking forward to the event, but finding it rather scary that Christmas isn’t so far away.

    Rachel – thank you. Looking forward to meeting you too. It sounds like it will be fun.

    Kate – pleased to hear you are coming too and looking forward to the fun.

    Karen – yes I don’t have to wait for you to come to Cornwall after all 😉

    Laura – thank you, looking forward to meeting you too. It’s one things friend’s enjoying my baking, it’s entirely another if it’s going to be judged by another food blogger :-S

    Angie – the pumpkin gives an unusual colour, which is a bit of fun. Can’t say the flavour is that noticeable though.

    Little Loaf – yes, quite right too. I’m getting into the mood now.

    Baking Addict – thank you. Shame you can’t be there, but hopefully another time.

    Jill – thank you. I seem incapable of doing anything these days without chocolate 😉

    Janice – ahhh, don’t say that. I’m not sure how they are meant to be as I’ve only ever had my own!

    C – thank you. Luckily, there is still quite a bit of time to get your thinking cap on 😉

    Chele – yes sorry you’re not going to be there – will raise my teacup to you 🙂

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