Last Saturday, 21st March was Harmony Day and this was celebrated at our little Freya’s Preschool with an afternoon tea.
A little history on Harmony Day – it began in 1999 by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to celebrate the cohesive and inclusive nature of Australia and to promote tolerance and a culturally diverse society. The colour chosen to represent Harmony Day is orange.
All parents were invited to attend the afternoon tea and bring a plate of food (nut & egg free of course) that represented their country of origin. Hubby, Ben, and I were born in Australia, but we both have strong roots to our family’s heritage – Scottish for Ben and Italian for me. Therefore, we felt proud to choose a plate highlighting one of our culturally diverse backgrounds for the afternoon tea. Ben mentioned haggis, but we thought that might be suited for a lunch. More apparently, I suggested a beautiful Italian biscotto, popular at Easter time, which I had as a child called Mezzalune di Marmellata (half-moons with jam filling). The vote was unanimous so I baked these beautiful Italian biscotti for Harmony Day.
This biscotto is essentially a delicate pastry that encases lovely jam or nutella filling. For this particular recipe, I have used my own homemade fig jam/compote filling which I have in abundance. It is easy to make – please see my recipe for fig jam. However, if you want to save time just use whatever jam you have in your fridge. I highly recommend flavours of plum and/or strawberry and equally, nutella. These all taste amazing with the short sweet pastry. I substituted the family’s original firmer pastry recipe for a much softer one which I found in one of my favourite cookbooks ‘Mangia, Mangia Gatherings’ by Teresa Oates and Angela Villella. This cook book is rich in recipes from Calabria, Italy – which I’m familiar with growing up in a Calabrese kitchen. This cook book resembles my own family’s photo album of gatherings surrounded by traditional Calabrese fare.
You will be surprised at how easy it is to make this recipe in particular the pastry (and the fig jam/compote too). Harmony Day has passed but Easter is just around the corner, so serve these biscotti for dessert with coffee and tea to your family and friends – they will devour these scrumptious biscotti.
It’s a piece of cake – enjoy!
A delicate sweet pastry shell encasing a delicious jam filling. A popular Italian treat to have at Easter and Christmas time.
These biscotti will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
50 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
1 hr, 5 Total Time
300ml Pure Cream
500g Self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting)
125g Butter, unsalted, melted and cooled slightly
1 Egg yolk (from a 70g egg)
110g Castor Sugar
900g-1kg Figs, fresh ripe
500g Caster Sugar
1 each Lemon, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
- Place figs in a large non-reactive saucepan that will hold the figs comfortably. Add caster sugar to saucepan.
- Pulse lemon slices in a food processor for a few seconds until small pieces.
- Add blitzed lemon and red wine vinegar to saucepan. Stir on high heat to dissolve sugar and combine.
- Bring to the boil, and then cook for 30mins or until thick and deep bronze colour. Make sure to stir every 5 to 10 mins to prevent bottom from catching and burning.
- To test setting of compote – place spoonful on cold plate and in fridge for 5 mins. Once removed, run finger through and if thick and sticky (like jam) then its set.
- Allow to cool for 10mins and then carefully spoon into warm sterilised jars and seal with lids.
- Preheat oven to 170c and line a few baking trays with baking paper.
- For the pastry, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon, then knead lightly to form a smooth dough. Shape into a ball, cover with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out to about 5mm thick.
- Put a cake tin or plate of 18cm diameter onto the dough and using a curly pastry cutter/wheel, cut out circles. You should be able to get about seven circles of pastry once you’ve gathered up the trimmings and re-rolled.
- Cut each circle into six triangles and place half a teaspoon of jam (or nutella) on the widest part of the triangle. Fold the pastry over the filling and press down to seal in the filling. Then continue to fold over until you get to the tip and curl the ends to form a crescent shape. Continue until you have used up all the dough.
- Place on the prepared trays and bake in preheated oven for 10-15 mins or until lightly golden.
- Cool on wire racks, then dust with icing sugar to serve.
To make half the amount of the Fig Compote Recipe, simply half all the ingredients
!To sterilize jars & lids 1. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse well. 2. Place in a large pot of boiling water for 10mins. 3. Then carefully place on a tray with a sheet of baking paper and heat in an oven at 120oC for 30mins. 4. Remove the jars from the oven to fill them while still hot.