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I am making biscotti. The recipe calls for the following:

  • 2 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 C whole pistachios

The only shelled pistachios I could find were already salted, with sea salt.

Given these ratios, should I adjust the amount of salt I will add to the recipe?

EDIT: Thank you for the responses. Since there seemed to be no way to control the saltiness, I ended up seeking out an unsalted lot. This recipe was sweet, by the way. And it came out great.

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    It's going to vary by company, but if there nutrition information on the package you might be able to figure out how much salt was added by the sodium content vs. the serving size ... but that's going to be fairly imprecise, as they can round down. And you never know how much the package has been shaken and thus how much salt is the bottom vs. still on the nuts. – Joe May 26 at 20:12
  • Alternate approach: wash the nuts, then dry them. I do this all the time when I only have salted nuts. – FuzzyChef May 27 at 5:32
  • Check the wording as to whether you need to adjust the quantity of nuts too. It's a few years since I made biscotti but that recipe gave the weight with the shells on, probably because that's the only easy way to buy unsalted pistachios, and had "shell the nuts" as a step. – Chris H May 27 at 6:08
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The only thing you can do is not add any additional salt, although I think you might still end up with a result that's too salty. As a commenter mentioned, you could get an indication of the amount of salt from the nutritional information on the packaging, but my suspicion is that in 3/4 of a cup of nuts there will be more than half a teaspoon of salt.

There is a question elsewhere on the site about unsalting salted nuts, where the consensus was that it wouldn't easily be possible. Tap as much salt off the nuts as possible before you use them.

If the nuts are going to get wet anyway (because there are other wet ingredients in your recipe that you haven't mentioned) then you might as well try to wash the water off; do it quickly, and pat the nuts try with paper towel immediately so they absorb as little water as possible. Tasting a few of them should tell you whether you've washed most of the salt off (in which case add it back according to your recipe) or not (in which case don't add any additional salt).

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    I think it will be too salty still, unless it's a savoury biscotti recipe. 1/2 tsp to 2C flour is the sort of small amount some people add to sweet baking (and I would omit). Worse, the salt will stay stuck to the nuts, which isn't what the recipe expects. That's not to say it will be bad, after all there are lots of sweet products using salted peanuts. – Chris H May 27 at 6:05
  • @ChrisH I agree. – dbmag9 May 27 at 6:31
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I would not change the amount of salt. As the salt will be concentrated around the pistachios, the rest of the biscotti might just taste extra bland. It might, as suggested in the other answers, pay off to try to remove some salt of the pistachios with some paper towels.

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Here is how I get salt off salted cashews before making stir fry.

  1. Put cashews in hands.

  2. Hold them under running faucet.

  3. Salt washes off.

  4. Proceed with desalted nuts.

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    Wet nuts would be fine in a stir fry, but the wetness will cause issues in a baked good. I'd recommend the additional step of rubbing the pistachios between two paper towels or clean kitchen towels to dry them off before adding them to the biscotti dough. – csk May 27 at 1:22
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    You could also bake the water off in a warm oven (e.g., 180F/80C) – Tristan May 27 at 14:16

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