Biscotti/ Rusk

One of my favorite bakery foods back home is the Rusk.. its crunchy, mildly sweet and goes very well with coffee,tea! I remember as a kid i used to adore my eldest maternal uncle (jaggi mama as we call me fondly) because when ever he used to visit us, he used to get us huge bags of Iyengar bakery goodies.. usually including a kilo or so of rusks. Since they are light and airy, a kilo fetches a lot of them in deed. They used to last for weeks after my mama had left!! Yum yum yum... i luv my eldest mama still.. i wish he could visit me here, well past the Atlantic ocean..I close my eyes and imagine.. my mama, his dark bald head gleaming in the eastern sunny summer...walking briskly on the side walk(footpath in India) even as the air carried the scent of fresh mowed grass, carrying his bag and a huge plastic bag that said '.....Iyengar Bakery.....'
I should not be mean!! i would still love him if he forgot to get the Iyengar Bakery stuff...
Back to rusk..
I have not come across risk here in the US. But something that was very close is the biscotti. The Italian twice baked cookies.. Just to recreate the magic of rusk i needed to try the technique and proportions of biscotti, so that i could extrapolate the recipe to get it closer to the traditional rusk. So i started some research and bingo here comes biscotti from my oven!!
But there was something interesting that i came across.. Rusk is popularly consumed in south Africa and not surprisingly the UK. Well i guess it is again a piece of colonial heritage that's become so much a part of our lives... Oh yeah!! we did not have bread (as in leavened bread) if not for our British colonial masters!Anyways, gastronomical histories apart, lets get back to biscotti... Hey this makes me fell why the hell did i not consider a career as a FOOD HISTORIAN!!! i would have been so good at it!! after all its combining two of my passions! Oh! god! i wish i knew this before i went to college!

Here goes the biscotti.
Sugar 1 cup
Large eggs 2
Almonds 1/4 cup chopped roughly
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
Baking powder 1 tsp
salt 1/4 tsp
Flour 2 cups
vanilla Essence(imitation vanilla) a few drops (optional)

Mix the dry ingredients, that is salt, flour baking powder, shift a couple of time and set it aside.
Now for the wet ingredients. Beat the eggs with the vanilla essence in it. ( I initially tried making the biscotti without the vanilla... but it turns out rather eggish smelling..which we did not like. so to conceal the eggish smell i used vanilla ) mix in the sugar orange juice, orange zest, almond.

Preheat the oven at 350 degree F. grease a cookie sheet. fold in the flour mixture into the egg mixture. The dough with be not be very tight. it will be slightly runny. pat the dough into a log. Shift it onto a cookie sheet and bake it for 40 minutes till the loaf has just started to look very dry and cracked on top and of course it smells like Iyengar bakery (yum!!)
Remove and cool. Once cool enough to handle slice the loaf into 1/2" thick pieces. Arrange all the biscotties again on a baking sheet and bake them again at 350 for about 5 minutes on each side, till the sides are slighlty charred ( mine went a minute too far)

Enjoy with coffee tea..... Wish me luck for my attempt to recreate our beloved rusk based on this recipe!!!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow .. I was looking for a recipe for rusk and I'm glad you'll try something. I miss iyengar bakery goodies too. I wish someone would open a chain in the US. All the best for your next culinary adventure !