Summer and pies go hand-in-hand. My all time favorite is blackberry pie. I am not a pie maker. The pastry world intimidates me. However, my husband and I were lucky enough to grow up when homemade pies were a common occurrence in families who knew how to make really good pies, especially in the summer when fresh fruit was in abundance. When we drive home from visiting family and the kids are getting squirrely in the backseat or we need a break from the latest Kidz Bop cd, we make a stop at the Blue Goose Fruit Market and Bakery in Hancock, Maryland, which boosts an extensive selections of pies. In fact, we usually can’t decide on just one and leave with two.
Since dried blackberries are illusive (I’m not sure they exist), we decided to try our hand at making homemade fruit leather to create these scrumptious Blackberry Almond Biscotti. The very simple recipe for fruit leather (the kids practically made it themselves!) can be found below and you will have plenty left over for snacking too! While fruit leather should take about 6-8 hours when prepared correctly, ours took 12 hours instead, which prompted my husband to ask if I thought it was “economical” to make fruit leather rather than buy it. However, for this recipe I would strongly recommend it because you want to dip the biscotti in some of the puree. These are so good you may want to make an extra batch and stick them in the freezer with some puree, so you can enjoy a bit of summer when the weather turns cold.
Blackberry Almond Biscotti
YIELD: approximately two dozen
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup almond meal
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ packed light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs and 1 egg white
¼ teaspoon blackberry flavored oil
2 tablespoons blackberry flavored brandy
½ cup chopped blackberry fruit leather (about half a baking sheet per the recipe below)
½ heaping cup whole almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a large flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, sugars, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, the egg whites, blackberry flavored oil, and blackberry flavored brandy.
4. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.
5. Add the fruit leather and almonds, and knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 to 20 times.
6. Separate the dough in half. Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.
7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
8. Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Blackberry Fruit Leather
4 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with plastic wrap. Be sure to wrap the plastic wrap up and over the sides to ensure to leather doesn’t crisp or burn around the edges, and is easy to remove.
2. Put the blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender and process until smooth.
3. Spread a thin layer, about 1/8 or 1/4 inch thick, onto each baking sheet. Reserve the remaining puree for dipping the biscotti.
4. Bake for 6-8 hours.
5. Remove the fruit leather from the oven and let cool. Cut with a pizza cutter or cookie cutters cut into desired sizes and wrap in wax paper. Store in an airtight container or the freezer.
What to do with the ends #9: Leave the ends under your pillow with your tooth for the tooth fairy.