Florentines are elegant and delicious biscuits to serve with coffee or tea. They are made with almonds and candied fruits and coated with dark chocolate. Despite the name, there is no evidence to suggest that Florentines are originally from Florence. They are made everywhere in the world today and are particularly popular at Christmas time in the northern hemisphere. I think they would be perfect for us to have for Christmas in July. My recipe is an old one and very easy to do.
60g brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
60g plain flour
60g mixed peel
30g glace cherries (about 5)
30g slivered or flaked almonds
30g walnuts or hazelnuts
15g stem ginger (preserved ginger)
100g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa)
Weigh out the ingredients and chop the fruit and nuts together as finely as you like.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and brown sugar gently. Take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice, flour, chopped fruit, ginger and nuts.
Line an oven tray with baking paper. Heat the oven to 180C. Drop heaped teaspoons of the mixture on to the tray leaving two centimetres between for spreading. Press very flat with a fork or your fingers. Bake for about 10 minutes until golden. (Florentines may become hard if overcooked.)
Leave on the tray for a couple of minutes to settle and then lift off and place upside down on a rack to cool. Spread with chocolate when cold.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Be sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water and don’t stir until it has melted. Take off the heat and stir until smooth. Leave for a few minutes to cool and thicken.
Using a teaspoon spread the chocolate on the underside of the biscuits. When the chocolate is starting to become firm, make wavy lines with the tines of a fork. Keep florentines in an airtight container for a week if you can.