As a child, the more elaborate the dessert, the more it enticed me! Tall glass cups filled with layers of cream and pudding garnished with sprinkles and treats or tonnes of butter-cream covering a sponge cake. They were my Achilles heel! Usually these wouldn’t live up to expectation and I would be left wanting, even though I would persevere and finish it all. It wasn’t until I got a bit older, and after many, many attempts at eating all these deliciously enticing treats, that I realised more simple and classic desserts were my thing.

Florentines however, with their jewel-like bits of peel and bright (or deep) red coloured cherries contained a crisp biscuit and a little bit of chocolate. What wasn’t to like? They had a bit of class and a bit of over the top enticing appeal about them. Sadly we can no longer purchase the beautifully naturally coloured peel by Sundora that you used to chop up by hand (complete with green citron) and are left with somewhat less attractive options. But I still consider them worthy. Even without the chocolate coating, I find them a tempting treat. I hope you will as well!

Makes a dozen

  • 115g (1/2 cup) Butter
  • 115g (2/3 cup) Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 60g Blanched Almonds, roughly chopped
  • 60g Glace Cherries, quartered
  • 60g Candied Peel, chopped (try to find the slice your own version)
  • 115g Plain Flour
  • 125-150g (1 pkt) Dark Chocolate, optional

Oven 180C / 350F / Mark 4

Stir the butter, sugar and honey together in a saucepan over low heat until it has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, fruit and flour. Mix well.

Place heaped teaspoons onto a prepared baking sheet, well spaced out. Bake for 10 minutes. You can use ring forms so the florentines to keep their shape as they spread out during cooking. You will need to remove the rings as soon as you remove them from the oven otherwise risk them sticking to the biscuits.

Allow the biscuits to cool fully on the tray. They will remain soft until then and change their shape if you try to move them before. You can however, use a palate knife to push back the very fine edges and reshape the florentines before they set.

Once cooled, melt the chocolate over a double boil and coat the underside of the florentine and allow the chocolate to set. Traditionally the chocolate is scored with wavy lines, this can be done with a fork or if you are using a silicone brush to apply the chocolate.

Did you know?

Candied Fruit has been around for hundreds of years, and was a way to preserve the fruit out of season, using sugar.

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