Califonia Bountiful

Toasty pecan biscotti with hibiscus pears

Rice flour and sorghum flour provide the foundation for these spicy, pecan-studded biscotti, which Alice Medrich pairs with a sweet, garnet-hued compote of pears. The biscotti are also delicious with chocolate pudding.

Cookbook author Alice Medrich

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Toasty pecan biscotti
2/3 cup white rice flour or 1 cup Thai white rice flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. sorghum flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup plus 
2 tbsp. milk (any percent fat)
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 
1/4 cup coarse sugar, such as turbinado 
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (preferably canela cinnamon)
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Hibiscus pears
1/4 cup crushed dried hibiscus flowers or loose hibiscus tea, or 1/2 cup whole dried hibiscus flowers (also known as flor de Jamaica, available in Latino grocery stores and tea shops)
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 lb. firm pears (to yield about 4 cups fruit)


For biscotti: Combine rice and sorghum flours, granulated sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes; dough will be very stiff. It is important to beat dough long enough or biscotti won't hold together; don't worry about overbeating. Add butter and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape dough into a flat patty, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until firm.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix coarse sugar, cinnamon and pecans in a bowl and scoop about half onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Turn dough patty out onto mixture and turn and press to cover both sides with nuts. Place in the center of the paper and cover with another piece of parchment. Roll out to an 8-by-10-inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Peel off the top sheet of parchment and pat or roll remaining nut mixture onto dough. Using a long, thin knife, cut dough straight down to make 2 sections, each 5 by 8 inches, and then cut each section into 8 bars, 1 inch wide and 5 inches long. Wipe knife with a paper towel as needed.

Use the knife or a spatula to move bars so they are evenly spaced on the same sheet. Press any stray nuts into bars. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn biscotti over with a spatula, moving the browner ones to the center of the pan. Return to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until biscotti are lightly browned on top and bottom. Set the pan on a rack to cool.

To serve, spoon 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the pears into individual bowls with some of their syrup, accompanied by a couple of biscotti.

For hibiscus pears: Place hibiscus in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring water to a boil in a medium, nonreactive saucepan and pour water over hibiscus. Let steep for 10 minutes. Line a strainer with a coffee filter or paper towel and pour liquid back into saucepan; squeeze hibiscus in the filter to extract all of the juice and discard hibiscus. Add sugar and lemon juice and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Peel, quarter and core pears, then cut each quarter into 4 long slices. Add pears to simmering syrup. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until translucent all the way through, turning carefully once or twice. Cover pan and let cool for about an hour. Refrigerate pears in syrup for at least 2 hours. They may be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Any leftover syrup makes a great cocktail, such as 2 parts syrup to 1 part gin over ice.

Serves 8

Adapted and reprinted with permission from "Gluten Free Flavor Flours," by Alice Medrich, copyright 2017, published by Artisan Books. Photo by Leigh Beisch. 

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