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Cranberry, Orange and Pecan Florentines
These delicate, lacy biscuits, studded with candied peel, cranberries and toasted nuts, dipped in melted chocolate make a wonderful treat or gift.
- 50g good quality flaked almonds
- 50g pecan nuts
- 25g butter
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 4 tablespoons double cream
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- Zest of 1 large orange, finely grated
- 50g chopped candied peel
- 50g dried cranberries
- 100g orange flavoured milk or dark chocolate
- 100g vanilla flavoured white chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas Mark 5.
- Spread the nuts onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 6-8 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to go cold and crisp, then snap the pecan nuts in half lengthways.
- Put the butter, sugar and cream into a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has melted. Bring to the boil, boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the flour, orange zest, nuts and dried fruits and stir together well.
- Drop about nine heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking sheet, leaving 3-4cm between each one, ensuring each one has an equal amount of fruit and nuts. Flatten slightly with the back of a wet fork, then bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are lacy and golden brown. Remove from the oven, leave for 30 seconds, then re-shape into neat 7cm rounds using a round-bladed knife if you wish. Leave to cool and harden on the tray.
- Carefully slide the Florentines off the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack. Wipe the baking sheet clean, then repeat with the remaining mixture. This should make about 20 biscuits.
- Break the orange-flavoured chocolate into one small bowl and the white chocolate into another. Bring 2.5cm of water to a simmer in 2 small pans, rest the bowls on top, remove from the heat and leave until melted, stirring occasionally.
- Dip the underside of each biscuit into the warm melted chocolate and leave to cool slightly, chocolate-side up. Then, with the tines of a fork mark a wavy pattern, and leave until completely set. Store in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks.
The ingredients of these delicious Florentines can be varied to make tasty alternatives
- Omit the pecans and cranberries, and replace with hazelnuts and sour cherries
- Omit the pecans and cranberries, and replace with macadamia nuts and blueberries
- For Classic Florentines, use a mixture of glace cherries, whole almonds, angelica and flaked almonds in the mixture
Florentines can be shaped, much like brandy snaps, as soon as they come out of the oven while the mixture is still malleable. Try moulding over a roll of cling film or a rolling pin into curved tuile shapes, twisting them into little cones, or rolling them into cigar shapes around the handle of a wooden spoon before filling with a little whipped cream to serve.