Florentine Squares

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Recipe: Carré Florentin (Florentine Squares)

Level: Easy

Techniques: Praline, Mixed Peel

This is my first update on my new website, and this is the reason for the recent delay in posting. I’ve been designing this site and copying over all of my posts from the other old blogspot site.

I hope you like the new style and the new website address. I’ve also created a recipe section which you can see here.

There is a new contact form in case you have any questions, or just want to get in touch and I will be adding more pages and sections as time goes on. The comments section has also been improved, so it should now be even easier to leave me a comment.

I made these Florentines a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve only now had the chance to write the update.

This is another one of those murky recipes from ‘The Book’. Felder specifies that you need to make your own candied peel and references a recipe further on in the book.

What Felder doesn’t make clear, is that the mixed peel recipe yields a massive quantity of the stuff. However the Florentine recipe only requires 40g of mixed peel. So I wasted an entire evening make a huge batch of mixed peel when I only needed about an orange and a lemon’s worth.

I’m also not convinced that the drying time specified for the peel is correct. More about that later.

A Florentine is actually an Italian biscuit, originating unsurprisingly from Florence. Despite their Italian roots, they are now considered a typical French pastry. This is because Marie de Medici who was born and raised in Italy, married a French King and bought these treats with her when she became Queen of France in 1600.

As mentioned earlier, I began by making the mixed peel, I had to peel five oranges and lemons and then cut them into thin strips ready for blanching.

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The reason for blanching the peel is to remove any bitterness, the orange peel is blanched in boiling water for 1 min and then drained. This is repeated for a total of 3 times. The lemon is blanched for 4 times.

Finally a pan full of mineral water and sugar is bought to the boil and the mixed peel is added. After boiling for 4 mins, some honey is added and the peel is left to cool in the syrup.

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Peel in syrup

At this point there are apparently lots of options as to what can be done with the candied peel. It can be left in the syrup and stored in the fridge this way, although the book doesn’t say for how long.

Alternatively you can lay the peel out to dry for about an hour and then when it’s dry, coat it in flavoured sugar and store the sugar-coated candied peel in a airtight container for up to 2 months.

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Peel layed out for drying

The candied peel in the syrup was great for the Florentine recipe, however the sugar-coated peel didn’t really work.

I’m not too sure what home made mixed peel should taste like. I’ve only ever had the tough shop bought stuff.

However the peel I left to drain for an hour never truly dried out. Even when I coated it in sugar, it still stayed very wet and became sticky. I assumed that the peel would be quite dry and chewy with crystals of sugar for crunch.This was not the case however. I’ll admit I threw away the majority of the sugar-coated peel. It really didn’t taste that pleasant.

I’m not going to post a recipe here as I’m not entirely sure it worked correctly. I will try and research another mixed peel recipe and if I have more success, I shall add something to the site.

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Sugar-coated mixed peel

With my peel made, I could move onto the Florentines. These are delicious chewy little biscuits consisting of nuts and candied fruits baked in  caramel and then covered in chocolate when cooled.

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Florentine Ingredients

The method for making the Florentines is incredibly easy, all of the dry ingredients are combined together and then added to the caramel. This recipe includes salted peanuts, which is a lovely addition, it really compliments the sweetness.

The mixture is then spread out on a lined baking tray and baked in the oven for 15 mins until golden.

Before the Florentines are allowed to cool, they must be cut into squares. They are much easier to handle when slightly warm as there isn’t any cracking when cutting them.

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When completely cooled the florentines are decorated with melted chocolate.

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These were delicious and very easy to make, I’d really recommend you give them a try. Here’s the recipe for the Orange and Salted Peanut florentines:

Orange and Salted Peanut Florentines
Author: 
Recipe type: Biscuit
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 60g clear runny honey
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 60g sugar
  • 60g flaked almonds
  • 40g candied peel/dried fruit/glace cherries
  • 40g coarsely chopped salted nuts (peanuts/cashews/pistachios)
  • Pinch of fleur de sel
  • 50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the zest, nuts and peel in a bowl and put to one side.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan combine the honey, butter and sugar and heat until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the caramel and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spread the mixture out onto the lined sheet and spread it as thinly as you can. Try not to leave any gaps. The mixture will not fill the pan, but it expands whilst cooking.
  6. Place in the oven and cook for 15 mins or until golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the pinch of salt.
  8. Allow it to cool a little until it is cool enough to touch, but still a little soft. Place on a heatproof surface and using a sharp knife cut the mixture into squares. They can be any size you like, this mixture made 20 Florentines for me.
  9. Allow to cool and in the meantime melt the dark chocolate.
  10. Drizzle the Florentines with the melted chocolate and leave to cool completely.
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My other florentine recipe Cranberry & Salted Cashew is here:

Cranberry and Salted Cashew Nut Florentines
Author: 
Recipe type: Biscuit
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Ingredients
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 60g clear runny honey
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 60g sugar
  • 60g flaked almonds
  • 30g dried cranberries
  • 20g candied/mixed peel
  • 40g coarsely chopped salted cashew nuts
  • Pinch of Fleur de sel
  • 100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the zest, cranberries, nuts and peel in a bowl and put to one side.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan combine the honey, butter and sugar and heat until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the caramel and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spread the mixture out onto the lined sheet and spread it as thinly as you can. Try not to leave any gaps. The mixture will not fill the pan, but it expands whilst cooking.
  6. Place in the oven and cook for 15 mins or until golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the pinch of Fleur de sel.
  8. Allow it to cool enough to touch, ensuring it is still a little soft. Place on a heatproof surface and using a cookie cutter (I used 2¼ inch cutter), cut out rounds.
  9. Transfer them to a cooling rack and allow them to harden.
  10. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  11. Spoon dark chocolate onto the reverse of the cooled Florentine and leave to set.
 

Florentines were also the technical challenge on last week’s Great British Bake Off, so I have submitted this post to SuperGoldenBake’s #GBBO Bake Along, do pop by and have a look at the other entries..

#GBBO Bake AlongThanks for reading.

Angela

 

10 Responses

  1. Lucy @SupergoldenBakes

    These look great. I am sure Mary Berry would have a conniption fit that they are square but I say be a maverick! I love your attention to detail and crazy peeling abilities. Thanks for linking to the #GBBO Bake Along!

  2. Jodie

    not a fan of raisins but cranberries would be good! i’ve never heard of sultanas, i’ll have to look it up. i’m sipping my tea thinking how perfect they would go together. 🙂 x

    • patisseriemakesperfect

      Sultanas are dried seedless grapes. If you don’t like raisins or currants, you probably won’t like these. They do go perfectly with tea and coffee… 🙂

  3. Jodie

    wow, that was a lot of peeling! the florentine’s look fantastic but are not my cup of tea with the candied peels. can they be made without them? would love just the peanuts and caramel topped with chocolate. 🙂 and i’m so sad you’ve never heard of peanut butter chips! the popular ones here at from nestle, along with their chocolate chips. they’re so good when you mix the two to make cookies. *drools*

  4. Daisy Prescott

    LOVE the new site and this recipe sounds delicious! Please share if you find a better recipe for making candied peel.

    xo

    • patisseriemakesperfect

      Thanks Daisy. Finding another candied peel recipe is high on my list of things to do. I will also try to make something in normal household quantities instead of crazy catering style proportions. x

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