Florentines. Unlive

These very luxurious biscuits can't be dashed off in five minutes but, if you have the time, then they do make a marvellous present, particularly at Christmas time.

Makes about 20

This recipe is taken from The Delia Collection: Chocolate.

Florentines.  Unlive
 5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate (70-75 per cent cocoa solids)
 1 oz (25 g) butter, plus a little melted butter for greasing
 3 oz (75 g) caster sugar
 1/2 oz (10 g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
 2½ fl oz (65 ml) double cream
 2 oz (50 g) whole almonds, blanched and cut into thin slivers
 2 oz (50 g) ready-flaked almonds
 2 oz (50 g) whole candied peel, chopped
 1 oz (25 g) glacé cherries, chopped
 1 oz (25 g) angelica, finely chopped (if you can't find angelica, use green glace cherries instead)
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C).
You will also need 2 baking sheets, 11 x 14 inches (28 x 35 cm).


Start by melting 1 oz (25 g) of 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. Now gradually add the cream, stirring continuously to keep it smooth.

Then add all the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate. Stir thoroughly again, then remove the saucepan from the heat and put the mixture on one side to cool. Next, brush the baking sheets with a little melted butter, lightly dust with flour and then tap them to get rid of the excess flour.

You'll find it easier to bake one sheet of the Florentines at a time, so now place heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture on to one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about an inch (2.5 cm) apart (to allow the mixture room to expand while baking). Flatten each spoonful with the back of the spoon, then bake on a high shelf for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden.

Then take them out of the oven and leave the biscuits to harden on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes, before quickly removing them to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the second batch. Next, 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.

Place the cooled Florentines, base up, on a wire rack and, using a teaspoon, coat the underside of each Florentine with warm melted chocolate.

Then, just before it sets, make a patterned, wavy line on each one, using a fork. Now leave the Florentines to cool completely before packing in alternating rows of fruit and chocolate side up in boxes or tins.

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