Manfredi Kitchen


by Julie MH

I’m sure the macaron craze that’s hit Australia has a lot to do with how cute and colourful these little egg white, sugar and almond meal pucks are. Their popularity owes much to their cake-like cream filling without the calorie commitment that a whole piece of cake entails.

But, for me, it’s the artificial colours used in many macarons that are a huge turn-off. Give me a good biscuit any day.

Dan Lepard says of the perfect biscuit in his book Short and Sweet, “…(it) has a crispness at the edges when freshly baked, a moist and slightly chewy heart and, most importantly, a rich buttery flavour.”

There are four classic drinks that accompany biscuits and, depending on the biscuit type and flavour, some are better matches than others.

Dunking biscuits in creamy milk is an early childhood experience. I still love dunking ginger snaps, holding them down with a spoon so they soften a little and soak up the milk. Milk is biscuit friendly.

Coffee, either espresso or milk-based, suits big flavours like chocolate, coffee, heavy spices, and rich fruits like date and fig but I find the endless nuances in tea even more interesting and versatile. Try the pistachio and sesame biscotti with a fine Assam or Darjeeling and the richer flavours of the Nutella baci with a full-bodied Taiwanese Oolong.

Finally there’s the grown-up drink. Sweet wine like Tuscan Vin Santo or Rutherglen Tokay and Muscat is the ultimate biscuit partner. Curiously, macarons are far too sweet in this case.



Make a large batch and give them away as Christmas presents. They’ll last a few weeks in an airtight container.

  • 1kg unsalted butter
  • 1.5kg caster sugar
  • 1.5kg plain flour
  • 60g baking powder
  • 500g fine polenta meal
  • Half tsp salt
  • 750g pistachio kernels, peeled
  • 250g sesame seeds
  • 10 eggs, beaten



In a mixer cream butter and sugar together till smooth. Sift flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Mix in polenta, salt, pistachio and sesame seed. Add mixed dry ingredients to creamed butter/sugar in mixer bowl. Use a paddle attachment to slowly combine ingredients, adding the beaten eggs a little at a time, until mixture is smooth. Preheat oven to 170C. Shape dough into logs about 8cm wide and 2cm thick. Make them as long as your baking trays can handle. Place baking paper on each tray and lay logs on top. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove, let cool, then with a sharp, serrated edged knife cut the biscotti about 1cm wide and place back on trays with baking paper. Drop oven to 150C. Bake biscotti for 8-10 minutes so they are dry and crisp. Remove from oven and cool before serving. Makes about 160 biscotti.

Perfect with either tea or coffee