December 18th 2008 06:00
About Florentine biscuit
Any French or Italian dish described as 'Florentine' uses spinach as its base. A florentine is also a kind of biscuit made with nuts, honey and dried fruit. When the biscuits are cooked and have cooled they’re spread on one side with melted chocolate and left until the chocolate cools and hardens.
These very luxurious biscuits can’t be dashed off in five minutes but, if you have the time, then they do make a marvelous present, particularly at Christmas time.
Makes about 20
150 gm / 5 oz dark chocolate with 70-75% cocoa solids
25 gm / 1 oz butter, plus a little melted butter for greasing
75gm / 3 oz golden caster sugar
10 gm / ½ oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
65 ml / 2½ fl oz double cream
50 gm / 2 oz whole almonds, blanched and cut into thin slivers
50 gm / 2 oz ready-flaked almonds
50 gm / 2 oz whole candied peel, chopped
25 gm / 1 oz glacé cherries, chopped
25 gm / 1 oz angelica, finely chopped (if you can’t find angelica, use green glacé cherries instead)
1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC / 375ºF. Prepare two baking sheets, 28 X 35 cm / 11 X 14 inches.
2. Melt the 25 gm / 1 oz butter, together with the sugar and flour, in a small, heavy-based saucepan over a very low heat, and keep stirring until the mixture has melted.
3. Gradually add the cream, stirring continuously to keep it smooth.
4. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate. Stir thoroughly again.
5. Remove the saucepan from heat and put the mixture on one side to cool.
6. Brush the baking sheets with a little melted butter, lightly dust with flour and then tap them to get rid of the excess flour.
7. Place heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture on to one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2.5 cm / 1 inch apart, to allow the mixture room to expand while baking. Flatten each spoonful with the back of the spoon.
8. Bake on a high shelf for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden.
9. Take the biscuits out of the oven and leave them to harden on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes, before quickly removing them to a wire rack to cool.
10. Repeat with the second batch.
11. Melt the chocolate in a basin over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
12. Place the cooled Florentines, base up, on a wire rack and, using a teaspoon, coat the underside of each Florentines with warm melted chocolate.
13. Just before it sets, make a patterned, wavy line on each one, using a fork.
14. Leave the Florentines to cool completely.
15. Serve or packing in alternating rows of fruits and chocolate side up in boxes or tins.
**From “The Delia Collection Chocolate” and “BBC Food Glossary”**
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