Friday 12 March 2021

Florentine Slice


What a year. WHAT a year. Honestly, words fail me. As far as these things go, Paul and I have been very fortunate - our housing has been secure, none of our dearest loves has been ill, our time-tested internet shopping habits have served us well. Urchin has found having both of us at home all the time absolutely ideal. 

It's just the confinement. The narrowing of life and experience. The loss of fleeting, casual contact with other people. I am an introvert by nature and had no idea just how much I value those tiny instances of connection until they didn't happen any more. Looking at exhibitions online just can't compare with wandering through a gallery. Having a long chat on the phone isn't the same as attending a reading and then sharing a meal. Somehow spending time with actual people is more nourishing than just messaging or speaking, regardless of how freely you speak.

You wouldn't know from this blog, but I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen over the last year. With restaurants mostly closed and local delivery services unreliable, I have cooked most of what we've eaten, three meals a day and snacks. I am profoundly tired of cooking. But at the same time I'd mostly rather bake a cookie than buy a cookie because doing one fills in a couple of hours as I decide what to bake and then do it, instead of just the gratification of eating it.

I wasn't sure how these were going to go. We'd run out of the previous batch of biscuits (chocolate hobnobs) and had no eggs. I initially thought of a round of shortbread, cut into wedges, with half a glace cherry pressed into each piece, but as I searched for eggless cookies with glace cherries I kept coming up against Florentine recipes. But I really wanted shortbread.

And lo! Unto us a Florentine slice was born. The caramel layer is quite soft, like a Millionaire's Shortbread, instead of being snappy and chewy like a proper Florentine. For something I cludged together and crossed my fingers over, these are very good. Something about this year that is actually worthy of being remembered.

Florentine Slice (Makes about 18 pieces, depending on how you cut it)


175g butter, softened

85g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

200g plain flour

25g rice flour

1/2 tsp ground ginger

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste with electric hand beaters until light and fluffy. Mix in the flours and ginger and fold & smear together with a spatula to a dough. Press into a baking paper-lined 8x11" pan and pat to an even layer. Chill in the fridge for about an hour.


50g butter

50g double cream

100g soft light brown sugar

50g golden syrup

50g plain flour

50g mixed peel

50g glace cherries, chopped

75g pistachio nuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan)

In a small bowl, combine the flour, mixed peel, glace cherries and nuts. In a small saucepan combine the butter, cream, sugar and golden syrup. Over a low heat bring just to the boil. Remove from heat and stir in the combined flour, fruit and nuts.

Pour the fruity caramel mixture over the chilled base and gently rotate the pan to encourage it into the corners. Bake for 15-18 minutes until evenly browned and bubbling.


100g dark chocolate

While the slice is baking, finely chop the chocolate. As soon as it comes out, sprinkle the chocolate evenly over the slice. In a few moments it will all have melted, so nudge it to cover the slice completely.

Allow to cool in the tin (which takes much longer than you'd think for the chocolate to set) before cutting into small pieces.



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