I first started writing recipes down in France, when I was a student. I don’t have many; most of the food that others cooked for me seemed madly complicated (blanquette de veau for example which only Gordon Ramsay could describe as simple…) so I spent most of my energy on eating it, praising it and getting fat. But every so often the lovely Denise (practically my surrogate French mother, who I met on an exchange aged 16) made something that I was sure even I could manage.
These Florentines are just such a recipe. Denise made them to accompany after-dinner coffee and froze them in great batches. They never seem to last long enough to reach the freezer round here and, well, my freezer’s so tiny I might as well just have another…
You will need:
100g unsalted butter
270g sugar (the original recipe uses 250g of sugar and 2 sachets of vanilla sugar; in the days when flavoured sugar wasn’t as common as it is now I used to spend ages hunting little sachets of the stuff, which I guess were about 10g each. These days I just shove a broken vanilla pod into a jar of caster sugar, which is quicker and cheaper.)
200g flaked almonds
65g flour (the recipe doesn’t specify but I use plain)
65g ground almonds
2 knife-points (1/4 teaspoon or so…) ground cinnamon
Method (dead easy…)
1. Put the butter and crème into a saucepan over a gentle heat and bring to the boil.
It will end up looking a little like this…
3. Stir everything together well. The recipe then says ‘bring to the boil again’ but since you now have quite a sticky mixture I’ve never quite understood how you can boil it. As I understand it, and make it, I mix it really well over the heat for about five minutes then stop when I have something like this…
4. Using a couple of teaspoons place small amounts of the mixture on a greased baking tray and flatten down slightly. (Avoid putting them on greaseproof paper, especially if you might not remember to take them off and cool them on a rack; it will stick to them and be impossible to remove. Try reusable baking parchment instead.)