Fig, Apricot, and Pistachio Biscotti

Fig, apricot, and pistachio biscotti are a perfect pick-me-up with a cup of coffee. We think that qualifies them as breakfast, especially when they’re filled with loads of dried fruit and nuts. This recipe is butter-free, so they’re even a bit healthier than you might think. So go on, have two!

Fig, apricot, and pistachio biscotti resting inside or on top of two glasses and a stack of biscotti beside the glassware.

Cooking can fill the house with all sorts of wonderful scents, but does anything say home better than the scent of freshly baked biscuits? I can trace the roots of my bakery back to the markets that I visited with my mother when I was growing up. Fresh, seasonal, local, simple—these are the watchwords I learned as a child and that I put to work in all my baking.—Isidora Popovic

Fig, Apricot, and Pistachio Biscotti FAQs

How do I keep biscotti from being crumbly?

First, when making the dough, be sure to chop the stir-ins so they’re not too large and not too small but rather a pleasing in-between. This ensures that the dough remains workable and the flavor of each ingredient stays quite distinct. Then, after the first bake, watch the timing for slicing the biscotti (10-15 minutes is good). If the log is too warm, it will crumble when cutting through it. Wait until it gets too cool, however, and it will be very hard to slice through.

Why aren’t my biscotti crisp?

There are a few answers here, but they generally all come back to the same thing—moisture. Don’t bake biscotti on a humid day, if possible. Next, cooling your biscotti on a wire rack helps the air to circulate around them, avoiding any moisture getting trapped beneath. Happily, biscotti can be put back into the oven for a little longer. That will help to draw out moisture and crisp them up.

Can I freeze biscotti?

You certainly can. Biscotti will last up to three weeks, just stored in an airtight container on your counter. But if that’s not long enough, they’ll last up to three months in the freezer, wrapped tightly.

Fig, Apricot, and Pistachio Biscotti

Fig, apricot, and pistachio biscotti resting inside or on top of two glasses and a stack of biscotti beside the glassware.
These double-baked crisp biscotti are crammed with figs and nuts and are made lighter without butter. They're best enjoyed with a strong coffee or dipped in some vanilla ice cream for a sweet treat.
Isidora Popovic

Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 1 hr 15 mins
Dessert
Italian
24 servings
76 kcal
5 / 2 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Popina Book of Baking cookbook

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Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup pistachio kernels left whole
  • 1/4 cup shelled hazelnuts coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 4 dried apricots cut into small pieces
  • 4 dried figs cut into small pieces
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 small unwaxed lemon

Directions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, and sugar into a large bowl. Make a well, add the eggs, and lightly beat. Gradually incorporate the flour mixture into the eggs and stir just until you get a somewhat sticky, dough-like mixture. Stir in the pistachios, hazelnuts, raisins, apricots, figs, and lemon zest.
  • Lightly wet your hands with cool water and bring the dough together to a ball. Move the dough to 1 of the baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Lightly dampen your hands with water again and pat the dough into a log, flattening it slightly so that it is about 3 inches wide. (You can use a sheet of parchment paper to help you shape the sticky dough.)
  • Bake for 24 to 30 minutes, until when you press very lightly on top and it springs back. If it feels firm, leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. Let the block of biscotti cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Leave the oven on.
  • Place the biscotti on a cutting board and, using a large, serrated bread knife, slice it into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Lay the slices on their side on the baking sheet and return to the hot oven until pale gold, turning them halfway through cooking, about 10 minutes total. The biscotti should appear dry; if not, leave them in the oven for a couple more minutes on each side. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Print RecipeBuy the Popina Book of Baking cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1biscottiCalories: 76kcal (4%)Carbohydrates: 14g (5%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 2g (3%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 14mg (5%)Sodium: 6mgPotassium: 96mg (3%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 74IU (1%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 21mg (2%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

If you want a cookie that screams “Christmas,” make these cookies using dried cranberries. I did because I couldn’t find dried figs. The red cranberries with the green pistachios make these perfect for the winter holidays. Be sure and lightly wet your hands, as the recipe instructs, to help gather the dough together.

After 22 minutes of baking, my dough was ready to be cut into slices. However, after baking the slices for 5 minutes on each side, I needed to bake them an extra 12 minutes, turning them over every 2 minutes, to get them dry. The finished product is lovely and will be a welcome addition to the holiday table.

I had thought that I would make these every year for the holidays. Hell, I’ve been making them every week or two. They are really fabulous! No butter and only 1/2 cup sugar, they have to be good for you, right? I can’t imagine a cup of coffee in the morning without a couple of these.

I couldn’t believe how delicious these were without the use of butter! The lemon adds a wonderful freshness, and the dried fruit and nuts pack the biscotti with flavor and texture. The dried apricots and figs were a perfect balance of sweetness and chewiness for this cookie. Feel free to substitute pecans and almonds for the nuts, and perhaps dried cranberries or cherries for the raisins. I’ll definitely keep these on the menu.

I still can’t believe there isn’t any butter in these. I ended up making a second batch (since the first batch went so quickly), substituting dried cranberries for the raisins, and pecans and almonds for the other nuts. I thought the dough would be a little dry, but after working it a little, it was just the right kind of sticky. They came out delicious. The only area I’m still unsure of is the first baking time. It was a good 35 minutes, and I think it could go a little longer.

I’ve not made biscotti in quite a while, and then saw this and thought I’d give it a go. The dough for this came together quite nicely. To get that pale gold color, I did need to bake it for a bit longer than the recipe states, and I was expecting it to be cooked through a bit more than it did (the dough was a bit gooey when I first sliced it). But the final result was still darn good.

It’s a nice, light biscotti, with lots of flavors and a good, crunchy texture. I’ll make this again—in fact, I can see this going on my holiday cookie list. The green from the pistachio and the orange from the apricots will be pretty with the rest of the cookies on a tray for the holidays.

Originally published May 5, 2010

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Everyone that I have made these for has asked me for the recipe. I have made minor adjustments to the steps though. First, I mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar. This is to ensure that the baking soda is mixed well. Then I add the zest and all chopped nuts and fruits and mix well again. By doing this, it helps avoid fruits from sticking together in chunks and the lemon zest can be more evenly spread out. Last, I add the eggs and mix well until shaped into a loaf.

    Note: While the recipe asks for two (2) eggs, your amount of moisture can vary depending on the size of the eggs. I find that large eggs work best. Extra larges eggs work fine too, but I then have to bake the biscottis a little longer. Overall, I find that I have to bake the dough for 40-45 minutes. Ovens vary in their performance and elevation can also affect the baking time. If you have not tried this recipe yet, go ahead. It will be another favorite of yours.

  2. 5 stars
    Rainy day again and why not bake? I had to wet my hands twice to get everything to come together and because I cut mine a little thicker they needed an additional 10 min. Can’t wait for coffee in the am! I think dried cherry and almond will be my next combo.

  3. I came across this recipe while searching for things I could make with a pack of dried figs which randomly came my way. I didn’t have any of the other ingredients (and forgot I had raisins!), so I went for figs, dry dates, pinenuts, slivered almonds, anise seeds, and finely chopped orange rind. Since it’s Ramadan, I thought they would fit in well with the general flavors of the month and would be yummy alongside some black tea as a predawn treat. When drying them out, I kept the fan on in the oven and baked them on a mesh cooking sheet to maximize air flow.

    1. Sounds perfectly lovely, Nathalie. We love when readers take a recipe and make it their own as you’ve done here. Would also love to hear what you think of the biscotti…!

      1. The biscotti base tastes great (not too sweet, not buttery) and the texture is really nice. A few of the other commenters noted that the dough was quite crumbly. Initially that was the case with me, but as soon as I wet my hands to form the dough, it all came together.

        In terms of my own ingredients, I’d go easy on the anise seeds and stick to zesting the orange and lemon as per the recipe rather than chopping it into small bits like I did, which has lent it a hint of bitterness. Also something I noticed: the biscotti can go from golden to brown in a mere minute. I caught mine just in time. So one really has to keep their eye on them!

  4. These biscotti are delicious! It’s been a while since I’ve made it, and your recipe is much simpler than the one I used to use. Just like some others who have commented, I baked them for quite a bit longer than the recipe states because I wanted to make sure they got crispy. It could be that I cut mine thicker and so they needed more time. I love that these are full of the nuts and fruit…I say the more of that stuff, the better. Thanks so much for sharing this, it’s definitely going in my recipe file to be used again.

    1. You’re quite welcome! Thanks for letting us know. We like these biscotti quite a lot, too, for exactly the reason you stated—so many tastes and textures and colors. Lovely to hear that the recipe has brought a little merry to your holiday season.

  5. I loved the flavour of the biscotti (and so did my husband, who doesn’t generally love biscotti), but the texture didn’t turn out quite right. One problem, was that my oven stopped working mid-bake and I didn’t realize. I can’t blame the recipe for that!

    But perhaps you can offer some guidance on another issue: when I mixed all the dough ingredients, I had a very crumbly, rough mix that didn’t lend itself to being rolled (or even stick together), I added several big sprinkles of water, but I fear this might have made it tough.
    Any suggestions?

    1. Thanks for letting us know, Jacqui. These do have a lovely flavor, don’t they? The dough can be slightly tricky, with all the mix-ins sort of clinging on and requiring a helpful pat here and there. But it should have been quite a lot more workable than what you experienced. I’m wondering if it has to do with the differences in flours from one country to the next, something that’s tripped us up in the past on recipes that are sort of particular. (I believe you’re baking in Australia these days…?) And yes, I fear the extra water may have been its undoing. If you can check the specifics on the flour you’re currently using and get back to me, we’ll figure this out.

      1. I’ve just made these and wanted to add to this conversation as I experienced the same issue as Jacqui. The dough was crumbly and didn’t hold together well, and it required a much longer baking time. I’m in NYC and used King Arthur All-Purpose Flour. Any ideas?
        Thanks!

      2. Yes, it’s me! Baking in Australia. I used plain flour (which is all-purpose). I don’t know how much that helps. Maybe I could add an extra egg, or some butter to help bind the mix. What do you think?

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