Mary Berry Florentines are a delightful treat that combines the chewiness of dried fruits, the crunch of nuts, and the rich flavor of chocolate. They are not just a sweet treat but a symbol of refined taste and elegance. Whether you’re making these for a cozy afternoon tea or as a thoughtful gift, these biscuits promise to impress. Here’s a detailed guide to making these sumptuous treats along with some professional tips to ensure they turn out perfectly every time.
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What is Mary Berry Florentines?
Mary Berry Florentines are chewy, crunchy, and chocolatey biscuits that are made with butter, sugar, golden syrup, flour, dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate. They are named after the famous British baker and cookbook author, Mary Berry, who featured them on a technical challenge of The Great British Bake Off. They are also inspired by the traditional Italian biscuits called florentines, which are similar in ingredients and appearance.
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Why You Love this Recipe
Mary Berry Florentines are beloved for several reasons:
- Simplicity and Precision: While the recipe is straightforward, it requires precise measuring, promising a rewarding baking experience.
- Flexibility in Ingredients: You can customize the fruits and nuts based on your preference or what’s available in your pantry.
- Delightful Texture and Taste: The biscuits are a perfect blend of chewy, crunchy, and chocolatey, satisfying a range of texture and flavor cravings.
- Elegance: These biscuits are not just tasty but also visually appealing, making them suitable for special occasions.
- Versatile Pairings: They pair wonderfully with tea, coffee, or as a standalone treat, providing flexibility in how they can be enjoyed.
Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Florentines
To make Mary Berry Florentines, you will need the following ingredients:
- 50g (2oz) butter
- 50g (2oz) demerara sugar
- 50g (2oz) golden syrup
- 50g (2oz) plain flour
- 25g (1oz) dried cranberries or glacé cherries, finely chopped
- 50g (2oz) candied peel, finely chopped
- 25g (1oz) almonds, finely chopped
- 25g (1oz) walnut pieces, finely chopped
- 200g (7oz) plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
You can use any dried fruits and nuts you like, as long as they are finely chopped and weigh the same as the original recipe. You can also use milk or dark chocolate, depending on your preference.
To make Mary Berry Florentines, you will need the following equipment:
- A small saucepan
- A wooden spoon
- A sugar thermometer
- Three baking trays
- Baking parchment or silicon sheets
- A teaspoon
- A palette knife
- A cooling rack
- A heatproof bowl
- A fork
A sugar thermometer is essential for this recipe, as it will help you achieve the right consistency and temperature for the florentine mixture. You can find one in most kitchenware shops or online.
Instructions to Make Mary Berry Florentines
To make Mary Berry Florentines, follow these steps:
Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the baking trays
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
- Line three baking trays with baking parchment or silicon sheets.
Step 2: Make the florentine mixture
- Measure the butter, sugar, and syrup into a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter is melted.
- Remove from the heat and add the flour, chopped cranberries or cherries, candied peel and nuts to the pan and stir well to mix.
Step 3: Spoon and bake the florentines
- Spoon teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays, leaving plenty of room for them to spread.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Leave the florentines to cool before lifting onto a cooling rack with a palette knife (if the florentines have been baked on buttered baking trays, only allow them to harden for a few moments before lifting onto wire racks to cool completely).
- If the florentines become too hard to remove, put them back into the oven for a few minutes to allow them to soften.
Step 4: Melt and spread the chocolate
- Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in a microwave, stirring occasionally, and taking care not to burn the chocolate.
- Spread a little melted chocolate over the flat base of each florentine using a palette knife, and leave to set, chocolate-side up, on the cooling rack.
- To make a zigzag pattern on the chocolate, use a fork to make lines on the chocolate before it sets.
Step 5: Store the florentines
- Store the florentines in an airtight container for up to a week.
What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Florentines?
These luxurious biscuits pair wonderfully with:
- Tea or Coffee: A hot beverage complements the rich flavors of the Florentines, making for a cozy pairing.
- Glass of Milk: A classic accompaniment, milk balances the dark chocolate’s bitterness and the tanginess of the fruits.
- Vanilla Ice Cream: For a decadent dessert, serve warm Florentines with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Whipped Cream: Add a dollop of whipped cream for a creamy and light touch.
Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Florentines
Achieve perfection in your Florentines with these tips:
- Temperature Precision: Use a sugar thermometer for accurate temperature control of the syrup mixture.
- Watch the Oven: Keep a close eye to avoid overbaking. They should be golden and bubbling at the edges.
- Gentle Handling: Use a palette knife to lift the delicate biscuits off the trays. Soften them in the oven if they harden too much.
- Quality Chocolate: Choose high-quality chocolate for coating to enhance flavor and texture.
- Decorative Touch: Make them festive with edible gold or silver dust or a drizzle of melted white chocolate.
Variations of Mary Berry Florentines
Customize your Florentines to suit various dietary needs or taste preferences:
- Nut-Free: Substitute nuts with more dried fruits or seeds like sunflower or pumpkin for crunch.
- Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free flour or omit the flour for a thinner, crispier texture.
- Vegan Version: Opt for vegan margarine, maple syrup, and vegan chocolate, and ensure your dried fruits are sugar-free.
How do I store Mary Berry Florentine leftovers?
To keep your Florentines fresh and delicious:
- Airtight Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- Layer Separation: Use baking parchment or wax paper between layers to prevent sticking.
- Cool, Dry Place: Keep them away from direct sunlight or heat to avoid melting the chocolate.
How do I reheat Mary Berry Florentines Leftovers?
If you prefer to enjoy your Florentines warm:
- Oven Reheating: Warm them on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 160°C/320°F for a few minutes.
- Microwave: For a quicker method, microwave on a safe plate for about 10 seconds.
The nutrition value per florentine (based on 18 servings) is:
- Calories: 156 kcal
- Fat: 9.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 16.6 g
- Protein: 1.8 g
- Fiber: 1.1 g
- Sugar: 12.9 g
- Sodium: 19 mg
- Potassium: 77 mg
- Calcium: 13 mg
- Iron: 1 mg
Can Mary Berry Florentines be made gluten-free?
Yes, to make them gluten-free, simply substitute the plain flour with your preferred gluten-free flour. Alternatively, some recipes may omit flour altogether for a thinner, crisper Florentine.
How do I ensure my Florentines have the perfect chewy texture?
The key to achieving the perfect chewy texture is to not overbake the Florentines and to follow the temperature guidelines closely using a sugar thermometer. They should be golden around the edges and set in the middle when done. If they harden too much upon cooling, briefly returning them to the oven can soften them.
How do I prevent the florentines from sticking to the baking trays or breaking?
You should use non-stick baking parchment or silicon sheets to line the baking trays, as this will make it easier to lift the florentines off the trays. You should also use a palette knife to gently lift the florentines off the trays, as they are very delicate and can break easily. If they stick to the trays, return them to the oven for a few minutes to soften them.
How do I temper the chocolate for the coating?
Tempering the chocolate will give it a smooth and glossy finish, and prevent it from blooming or melting easily. To temper the chocolate, you need to melt half of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water or in a microwave, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a melting temperature of 53°C/127°F. Then, you need to finely chop or grate the remaining chocolate and add it to the melted chocolate, stirring gently until it cools to 26°C/79°F. You can then spread the tempered chocolate over the flat base of each florentine using a palette knife.
Mary Berry Florentines are delicious biscuits that are chewy, crunchy, and chocolatey. They are easy to make, but you need to measure the ingredients accurately and use a sugar thermometer to get the right consistency and temperature. You can use any dried fruits and nuts you like, and any type of chocolate you prefer. You can also make them nut-free, gluten-free, or vegan, by making some simple substitutions. They are perfect for afternoon tea, Christmas gifts, or any occasion.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to make Mary Berry Florentines.
If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below.
Thank you for reading and happy baking!