Pittsburgh’s Strip District is a 20-odd block extravaganza of ethnic food shops, restaurants, and eclectic stores. It is my favorite part of Pittsburgh, a neighborhood I truly missed when I lived in DC.
On weekends the Strip teems with an endless flow of Pittsburghers and their out-of-town relatives, many of whom appear awestruck at the spectacle that is Penn Avenue on a Saturday morning. They wander in and out of the shops, picking up fresh mozzarella, olives, pepperoni rolls, kielbasa, pierogi, tortilla chips, avocados, basmati rice, and knockoff t-shirts. In the air hangs an intoxicating aroma, and that aroma emanates from Enrico Biscotti.
Enrico is a tiny shop that makes its biscotti from scratch, by hand. Huge glass jars line the counter, featuring everything from anise almond to doggie biscotti with cheese and bacon (naturally, Millie has had Enrico’s doggie biscotti and loves it). Enrico’s founder left his corporate job to pursue baking full-time, making him one of my heroes.
While my biscotti can’t compete with Enrico’s, the recipe below is quite tasty. These biscotti are great candidates for drizzling with or dipping in melted chocolate, and they pair well, as all biscotti does, with coffee or tea.
- 1 cup blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, beat eggs and extracts; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine baking powder, salt, flour, and sugar; mix well.
Gradually add egg mixture until dough begins to form.
Add almonds and continue to beat until the dough comes together.
Turn on a lightly floured surface and roll dough into a log that is about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until firm.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Slice log into 1/2 inch slices and arrange on the baking sheet.
Return to the oven and bake for 12 minutes on each side, until the edges are very light golden brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack.