Florentines

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Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library)Florentines, one of my favorite treats when I go to France, are great cookies composed of caramelized nuts and dried fruit and chocolate. I kept asking Sebastien to do a Florentine, and when I brought in a traditional Florentine mold, which gives the chocolate a wavy texture, he finally got the picture and caved. Of course, we make so many now that my little mold is impractical, so we use a plastic comb from a specialty store or the kind sold in the tile section of Home Depot and other stores for spreading adhesive. Buy one with rectangular, not triangular, teeth. (If you don’t have a comb, simply spread enough melted chocolate on the pate sucree to make a thick layer.)

Traditionally Florentines are just a fruit and nut layer spread with chocolate, but we added a base of pate sucree, which makes the cookies much easier to pick up and eat, and makes them more substantial too. The crust also cuts the sweetness of the traditional version.

  • Yield: 6 Cookies

Ingredients

  • 11.5 ounces (325 grams) Pate Sucree (page 129), cold
Nut and Fruit Layer
  • 3 tablespoons + ¾ teaspoon (52 grams) Whole milk
  • ¼ cup + 2½ tablespoons (79 grams) Granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams) Glucose
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams) Clover honey
  • 3.7 ounces (105 grams) Unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • a pinch Kosher salt
  • 1½ cups (126 grams) Sliced blanched almonds
  • ¼ cup +1 tablespoon (42 grams) Shelled raw unsalted pistachios
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) 1/8 inch dice Candied Orange Peel
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) Brune pate a glacer
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (standard). Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Unwrap the dough and place between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, pound the top of the dough, working from left to right, to begin to flatten it, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. (This will help prevent the dough from cracking as it is rolled.) Roll out to a 10-by-14-inch rectangle.
  3. Remove the top piece of parchment and invert the dough into the prepared pan, pressing it gently against the bottom and into the corners. Run your hands over the parchment to smooth the dough and force out any air bubbles. (Any dough extending up the sides will be trimmed later.) Repair any cracks in the dough. Freeze the dough for 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm.
  4. Trim the edges of the dough if necessary so that only the bottom of the pan is covered with dough. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper (covering the dough) and fill with ½ inch of raw rice. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the dough is a pale golden brown around the edges. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack, remove the paper and rice, and lower the oven temperature to 325°F.
  5. For the nut and fruit layer
  6. Combine the milk, sugar, glucose, and honey in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Then cook for about 8 minutes, until the temperature reaches 248°F/120°C. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and salt. Stir in the almonds, pistachios, and orange peel.
  7. Pour the mixture into the crust and, using an offset spatula, spread it evenly, reaching into the corners. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through. To check for doneness, remove the pan from the oven and let the bubbles subside (see Notes to Professionals). The nut mixture should be a rich golden brown, with no under cooked areas, or the cookies will be chewy; on the other hand, overcooked cookies may be too crisp it is a balancing act. Don’t worry if there are dark edges, as they will be trimmed later. If the nut mixture isn’t level, push it into place with a small offset spatula. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.
  8. Line a cutting board with parchment paper. Run a paring knife around the edges of the Florentine to loosen it from the pan, and invert it onto the parchment.
  9. Pour 70 grams/¼ cup of the chocolate over the crust and, using an offset spatula, spread it into a thin, even layer, working it for about 30 seconds, or until it begins to thicken (this will temper the chocolate). The layer should be just thick enough to cover the crust. Use the comb to create waves in the chocolate. If some of the crust is visible through the chocolate, spread on more chocolate and comb again. (You may not use all of the chocolate.) Let stand at room temperature until the chocolate is completely set.
  10. Using a serrated knife, trim the edges to straighten them and remove any dark parts. Cut the Florentine into six 3½-by-2½-inch rectangles.
  11. The Florentines are best the day they are made, but they can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored for up to 3 days.
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