Tropical Fruit Biscotti

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I’m historically challenged. Some parents worry about what they are going to do when their kids come to them for math help. I worry about what I am going to do when my kids come to me for help with dates, timelines, and events of historical significance. I don’t know what year the Titanic sank, when the Vietnam War started, or how old John F. Kennedy was when he died.

Thankfully my husband has wonderful recall when it comes to significant dates.  There used to be an evening news show, Dateline or Frontline or something, with a segment called “What year was it?” A question would be posed, “what year did the color TV make it into American households” or “what year did Sears start selling sewing machines,” and three potential years would be listed. I missed it every time. He got it right ever time.

Do you remember where you were ten years ago today? I’m horrible at answering questions like that as well. I can barely remember where I was last week or even yesterday, let alone ten years ago.

However, I got a call last week from a friend who asked me this very question. I froze. Thankfully he took pity on me and didn’t let me flounder for long. Ten years ago that very day we were docking in Cuba with the Semester at Sea Program. As the assistant dean, I was getting ready to deliver our first pre-port orientation, and as the ship photographer, he was getting ready to record the start of our adventure. Later that evening, we found ourselves sipping rum laced drinks at the Tropicana in Havana, mesmerized by the whirl of scantily clad dancers on a brightly lit stage enclosed by a canopy of trees that rustled in a gusty evening breeze…which, if we weren’t enjoying ourselves so much would have realized was an impending storm front. Within minutes of taking the photo below, in a sudden downpour we joined several hundred college students sprinting to the buses ready to take us back to the ship.

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Havana was our first port of call on our adventure to circumvent the globe. We spent five days exploring Cuba, learning about the educational system, witnessing visionary artists and craftsman at work, and sharing fabulous food with new friends. We met many amazing and interesting people carving out lives in ways we had not imagined, full of determination and joy.

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These Tropical Fruit Biscotti remind me of warm weather, good friends, and new beginnings.

Tropical Fruit Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornmeal

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut

2 eggs and 1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons dark rum

¼ heaping cup of diced pineapple

¼ heaping cup of diced mango

¼ heaping cup of diced kiwi

½ cup of diced papaya

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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, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, coconut.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg white, vanilla extract, and rum.

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 pineapple, mango, kiwi, and papaya. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 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.

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What to do with the ends #65: Use the ends as barter.

 

Dragon Fruit and Kiwi Biscotti with Shredded Coconut

Dragonfruit 2

Living in a large metropolitan area, we have access to some wonderful markets and ethnic grocery stores. We go to certain stores for different things. Trinacria Foods, a local Italian market, is where we go for pastas, stuffed olives, olive oils, cheeses, and amazing Italian sandwiches. Lotte, a large Asian grocery, is where we go for seafood, mochi, and a huge variety of produce. We always leave with something new. I am hoping the frog melons, cherimoyas, and dragon fruits that find their way into our cart will help raise adventurous eaters. David’s Natural Foods, a local health food store, is where we always find our favorite teas, cocoa nibs, and an extensive selection of herbs and spices, mostly in large canisters that allow customers to take as much or as little as they want. The kids and I like to open the canisters and sniff the different spices, which I figure is fine as long as we aren’t sneezing in them.

On a recent shopping trip to David’s, we came across dried dragon fruit. We’ve eaten fresh dragon fruit, but never dried. So we bought a bag. We did a little research and found that the flavor of dragon fruit is often described as a cross between a kiwi and a pear. So we combined the dragon fruit with some kiwi we found in the Biscotti Bin. The flavors compliment each other well and create a tropical treat we enjoyed with a fresh dragon fruit smoothie. 

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that when we make a recipe for the first time we try different finishes before we bake the biscotti logs. The different finishes not only affect the taste but also the appearance of the biscotti, as you can see in the photo below. We decided our favorite was the one drizzled with agave.

finishes

Dragon Fruit and Kiwi Biscotti with Shredded Coconut

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup shredded coconut

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup chopped dried kiwi

½ cup chopped dried dragon fruit

agave

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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, sugar, baking powder, salt, and coconut.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla.

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 kiwi and dragon fruit, and knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 to 20 times.

6. Separate the dough in half. Form three 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. Drizzle the top with agave. 

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.

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What to do with the ends #11: Create a biscotti scavenger hunt.