Florentines

Peter Flynn

The first time I tried one (on a visit to Trier in the 1970s) I couldn’t believe how good they tasted. But it’s taken until now to get down to the business of actually making them myself. This is an attempt to recapture that first taste, with forays 🔗 into Delia, Felicity, Lottie, Linda, and others.

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Makes 24. Heat your (fan) oven to 180°C. Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 8 minutes.


Ingredients

  • 100 g flaked almonds (or half almonds, half pine-nuts)
  • 30 g pistachios | shelled and chopped
  • 50 g candied peel | chopped
  • 50 g dried figs | chopped (or dried cranberries) [optional]
  • 50 g glacé cherries | chopped
  • 20 g angelica | chopped fine
  • 40 g stem or candied ginger | chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 55 g lightly salted butter
  • 100 g Demerara sugar (or half sugar, half golden syrup)
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 120 g dark chocolate [at least 70% cocoa]

Method

  1. While the oven heats, chop the almonds, pistachios, peel, figs, cherries, angelica, and ginger to roughly even size.

  2. Mix the them together, adding the flour to stop the bits sticking together.

  3. Melt the butter and sugar in a pan over a low heat until combined. Do not boil or overheat. When you can just bear to dip your finger in, stir in the cream.

    I haven’t tried using maple syrup instead of golden syrup. Maple sugar would avoid problems with the syrup being too runny. (see tip)

  4. Pour into the fruit mix and stir well to combine.

  5. Line two baking sheets with silicone parchment (you’ll need to cook in two batches unless you have two large baking trays and a very even fan oven).

  6. Drop the mix in about 10 g (1 tbsp) blobs, spaced as wide apart as you can because they will melt and flow. Flatten each blob gently so that they are of even thickness. I fit 12 to my baking tray, which is as wide as will fit in my oven.

  7. Bake for about 8 minutes. They’re done when they are bubbling and the edges are just beginning to brown.

  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Do not try to move them off the paper or tray because they are waffer-thin and very fragile.

    What you can do, however, but only in the first two minutes after taking them out of the oven, is to use a silicone spatula to gently but quickly push the edges inwards so that each one is an even circular shape, all roughly the same size.

  9. Once they solidify a bit, slide the silicone parchment out of the baking tray onto a flat, cold surface. Do not put the Florentines directly onto a baking rack until they are completely cold, or they’ll sag and fall through the holes.

  10. While they go cold, melt the chocolate in a double basin. Lift each Florentine, turn it over in your hand, and paint the back evenly with melted chocolate, using a silicone brush or the back of a teaspoon. Put back on the rack to solidify, chocolate side up. (see tip)

  11. You can decorate the chocolate with wavy fork marks while it solidifies, if the back of the Florentines are smooth enough and the chocolate thick enough.


Serving

  • Serve right side up (chocolate underneath).


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