Flavour of the Month – December: Festive Florentines

 

 

What’s in season in December?

Apples, clementines, cranberries, passion fruit, pears, pomegranates, satsumas, tangerines

Chestnuts

Beetroot, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, chicory, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, mushrooms (wild), onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, shallots, swedes, turnips, winter squash

 

 

Festive Florentines

When you’re talking treats, these caramelised creations totally take the biscuit (sorry!!)

They’re simple to make and packed with wonderful wintery flavours like chocolate, ginger, sour cherries and toasty nuts. This is our favourite recipe (adapted from The Guardian), but you can easily create your own combo from the wide selection of dried fruit and nuts available at this time of year (or whatever you have in your store cupboard!). Try white chocolate, cranberries and almonds, OR dark chocolate, pecans and ginger pieces, OR milk chocolate, dried apricots and pistachios – all delicious, trust us!

And they make a tasty homemade Christmas gift (if you can bear to give them away!) Simply wrap up with a twist of ribbon.

 

Festive Florentines

 

Makes 20

Timing: Preparation & cooking – 40 minutes, plus cooling time

Equipment: 2 Baking trays, baking paper, small saucepan, heatproof bowl (for melting chocolate)

Suitable for vegetarians; see adaptation for vegans below

 

Ingredients

30g candied peel, finely chopped

30g soft dried apricots, roughly chopped

45g dried sour cherries, roughly chopped (or dried cranberries)

45g soft dried figs, roughly chopped

3 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped (optional, or use crystallised ginger)

 

20g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

60g flaked almonds, lightly toasted

 

15g plain flour

45g unsalted butter

60g demerara sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp double cream

 

200g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa) broken into pieces (or milk chocolate or white chocolate)
 

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  3. Put all the chopped fruit, ginger and nuts in a bowl, sift over the flour and toss together until the flour is evenly distributed.
  4. Melt butter and sugar together in a saucepan over a medium heat until combined.
  5. Remove pan from the heat, stir in the salt and cream, then stir into the fruit and nut mixture.
  6. While it’s still warm, dollop rounded teaspoons of mixture on to the baking sheets and flatten out, leaving plenty of room between them, as they will spread a little.
  7. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until golden. Leave to cool on the tray.
  8. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure it doesn’t touch the water.
  9. Use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate over the Florentines, then leave to cool. You can use a fork to make a wavy pattern in the setting chocolate.
  10. Let the chocolate set completely before serving, giftwrapping or storing in an airtight container.

 

 

Vegans

Caramel sauce: – We used 3 tbsp coconut oil, 60g demerara sugar and a splash of almond milk. Click here for a good alternative recipe.

Chocolate base: Melt cacao with a dash of agave syrup.

 

 

Tip: Melting Chocolate

If you’re not careful, melting chocolate can turn into a kitchen nightmare!

Overheating, or contact with even a few drops of water can make chocolate ‘seize’ into a thick dull sludge that’s unusable (because the sugars lump together and separate from the fat). It doesn’t even taste that great anymore!

On the hob

Break chocolate into pieces into a heatproof bowl.
Sit bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
Stir chocolate occasionally as it softens.

Microwave

Heat chocolate on medium heat for about 1 minute.
Remove and stir.
Heat further at 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
 

 

 

More simple, affordable recipes:

Plum & Blackberry Crumble
 
Bonfire Bangers & Beans

 

 

Hello Grads
15.12.2017

They look delicious!

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