Cantuccini are more commonly known in the UK as biscotti, the hard, twice-baked biscuits that need a long dip in coffee, or more traditionally Vin Santo before they can be eaten. Here I have played around with the traditional recipe given by Anna Del Conte, to include cranberries and pistachios to give the colours of Christmas, plus nutmeg and lots of orange zest.
100ml Cointreau or orange juice
75g dried cranberries
250g plain flour
225g caster sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
Zest of 1 large orange
A few hours before, or overnight, soak the dried cranberries in the Cointreau or orange juice.
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Stir in the beaten eggs, and work it into the dry ingredients, adding the zest, fruit and nuts in at the end. When everything is well mixed, pat into a ciabatta shape about 7cm across. Place on a lined baking tray and cook for 15-18 minutes.
Take the tray out of the oven and reduce the temperature to 150 C.Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut them diagonally into 1 cm slices. Lay them side by side, cut side up on the tray and return to the oven for the second baking - for 45 minutes or so, until well dried out.