A Florentine is a thin wafer-like Italian cookie made of caramel, nuts, and dried fruit. When I was living in Japan, I tasted this modified version and was instantly sold. It reminded me of a cookie that my grandmother used to make when I was little, which is why we called these Grand-mère’s Florentines. With pastry crust underneath and plenty of caramel and almonds baked on top, you’ll be addicted after your first one. You can cut these cookies into any shape you like. At Duchess, we tend to make things round, but rectangles or randomly cut shapes would look quite lovely too. Of course, the ‘scraps,’ or ‘florentine bits,’ as we like to call them, make for wonderful bite-sized treats and should not be wasted!
1 batch ClassicPâte Sucrée Dough
100 g (¹⁄³cup) honey
115g (1/2cup) unsalted butter
125g (1/2cup) whipping cream
200g (1cup) sugar
120g (1/2cup) water
2 tsp corn syrup
1 tsp fleur de sel or salt
220g (21/4cups) sliced almonds
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pâte sucrée into a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. You want the dough to end up roughly the same shape as the jelly roll pan. Carefully roll the dough upon to the rolling pin and transfer it to the lined pan. Using a fork, poke the pastry all over to prevent air bubbles from forming as it bakes (PhotoA). Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until light golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Turn the oven up to 400°F (200°C)
In a small saucepan, heat the honey, butter, and cream until just scalding. Set aside and try to keep hot while you cook the sugar.
In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, water, and corn syrup until golden brown or amber in colour (PhotoB). This will be the caramel.
When the sugar has reached the desired colour, remove from heat and slowly pour in the hot cream mixture (PhotoC). Be sure to pour slowly as the mixture will bubble up. Stir well using a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon.
Place the mixture back over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until it reaches between 120° and 125°C (250° and 255°F). Remove from heat and immediately stir in the fleur de sel and sliced almonds (PhotoD).
Pour the hot caramel mixture over the baked sheet of pâte sucrée. Working quickly with an offset spatula or a heatproof spatula, spread the caramel evenly over the sheet, leaving a bit of room around the sides for the caramel to expand while baking (PhotoE).
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the caramel at the centre of the sheet is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes, until the caramel is slightly warm. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the Florentines (PhotoF). Cut the leftover scraps into bits for snacking on later.
Florentines will keep at room temperature for up to five days.
Excerpted from Duchess Bake Shop: French-Inspired Recipes from our Bakery to Your Home by Giselle Courteau. Copyright © 2014 Duchess Bake Shop. Appetite by Random House® edition published 2017. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.