Think of a Florentine as a fancy form of teatime treatery. Even the name bestowed on this ultra-luxurious, chewy biscuit makes it feel extravagant – like being invited to high tea with one of the grande dames of Florence. But it’s not just the name that gives the Florentine its air of extravagance, the combination of butterscotched fruit, almond flakes and citrus peel – along with other indulgent ingredients like butter and dark chocolate – make Florentines one of the ultimate treats, whether you’re expecting fine company or simply feel you deserve to spoil yourself.
TIME: 1 hour | SERVES: makes 12
1 naartjie (or orange)
50 g (55 ml) butter
50 g (65 ml) sugar
50 g (50 ml) golden syrup
50 g (90 ml) cake flour
50 g red raisins (you can use any raisin of your preference or even dried cranberries)
50 g flaked almonds
100 g 70 % chocolate
Heat the oven to 180 °C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Peel the naartjie with a vegetable peeler removing as much of the pith as possible. The pith adds an unwanted bitterness to the mix. Then, cut the peel into small blocks.
Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over a low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and add the flour, raisins, almonds and naartjie peel. Stir well.
Spoon teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto each of the prepared baking trays, leaving plenty of room for them to spread during cooking, and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
They will lose their shape as they cook, so if you like them to look a bit neater (I do), use a cookie cutter to portion them into equal sizes.
Leave the Florentines to cool before lifting them onto a cooling rack using a palette knife.
Chop the chocolate into small blocks, then set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water without letting the bowl touch the water.
Temper the chocolate by placing half of the chocolate into the bowl. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then carefully remove the bowl from the pan and add the rest of the chopped chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted.
Spread a little melted chocolate over the flat base of each Florentine and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container.