Sunday, 17 August 2014

Mary Berry's Florentines

chocolate covered florentines on a plate
I first made these luxurious biscuits a couple of weeks ago. I had a bit of spare time on a wet Sunday afternoon and fancied baking something new. I had never made florentines and had always imagined them to be fairly tricky: I was surprised to find that they are actually fairly quick and easy to make. What is also fantastic about them is that the ingredients are fairly standard stock cupboard items - so easy to whizz up without having to go to the shop!

My recipe comes from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book – except I add a few extra glace cherries, or add stem ginger instead of the glace cherries – which produces delicious florentines!

Randomly, florentines were then the Technical Challenge this week on Great British Bake Off. It was quite handy to hear Mary Berry describe exactly what she was looking for: the thin lattice edges and the crisp crack when you bite into the biscuit.

The trickiest bit of making these florentines is getting the chocolate layer right – cooling the melted chocolate to an appropriate thickness that it can be spread onto the biscuits without dripping through the lattice, and also so that it is thick enough to hold the forked pattern. To make them extra pretty, you can melt some white chocolate and pipe it over the other (non-chocolate-covered) side of the biscuits. Like this, they make lovely presents.

You can vary the nuts / fruit to suit your tastes – as suggested, stem ginger makes a delicious addition. For Christmas, I think that dried cranberries would be lovely.

FlorentinesFlorentines

Ingredients 
  1. 50g butter
  2. 50g Demerara sugar
  3. 50g golden syrup
  4. 50g plain flour
  5. 6 glace cherries  / 25g stem ginger – finely chopped
  6. 50g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  7. 50g mixed nuts, finely chopped
  8. 200g plain chocolate, broken into pieces

Method 
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Line 3 baking trays with baking parchment.
  3. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a small pan and heat gently until the butter has melted.
  4. Mix the flour, peel, nuts and stem ginger / cherries in a bowl.
  5. Stir this mix into the saucepan of melted butter/sugar/syrup.
  6. Spoon teaspoons of the mix onto the prepared baking trays and spread out with the back of the teaspoon. Leave plenty of room for the florentines to spread further.
  7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown (turn the trays after 6 minutes if your oven bakes unevenly).
  8. Allow the florentines to cool and harden slightly before moving onto a cooling rack to fully cool.
  9. Melt about 150g chocolate in a glass bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.
  10. Remove the chocolate from the heat and add the remaining chocolate.
  11. Stir to incorporate the additional chocolate so that it cools and thickens a little.
  12. Use a teaspoon to spoon the chocolate onto the flat side of each florentine and spread out with the back of the teaspoon.
  13. Use a fork to mark a zig-zag pattern into the chocolate.
  14. Leave to cool. 


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