The Great British Bake Off:
My Mary Berry Inspired Florentines Recipe
This week on The Great British Bake Off it was “Biscuit” week…….as in cookies, for my North American readers, and not scone type quick breads! The programme opened with a challenge to make one of my favourite types of biscuit, savoury biscuits, perfect to make WITH cheese and well as to SERVE with cheese too. There were some amazing looking bakes, from Norman’s Farthing Biscuits, which I know well, to Enwezor’s Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Savoury Biscuits, there weren’t many savoury biscuits that the contestants baked that I didn’t like, being a “savoury head”. I also loved the look of Richard’s Rosemary Seeded Crackers and Nancy’s Fennel and Rye Thins…….and, I can see myself trying out some of these recipes to accompany my weekly cheeseboard that we always have on Sunday, or after lunch for our Sunday tea. But, as the technical challenge was Mary Berry’s Florentines in this week’s show, today’s post and recipe is all about them………and my Mary Berry inspired version of them with a ginger kick.
Last week I made Mary’s Cherry cake, which was also the technical challenge of the show, and I aim to make the technical challenge recipe as shown on GBBO every week, within in reason – diet and travel permitting! This week’s challenge for Florentines seemed easy at first, and then I remembered, that the base of these biscuits is similar to Brandy Snaps, and that can be tricky to execute well. I also remember making these at school once, and they can be a little messy when applying the chocolate coating, which can seep through the lacy biscuit base……so, quite a challenging recipe to make on camera!
I set aside the afternoon on Thursday to make these, not a luxury the contestants have I know, but I didn’t want any distractions. I think that in all baking projects the secret to better results is the preparation, such as the weighing and measuring of ingredients (something the contestants DON’T have to do) and lining baking trays and suchlike. This took me a good fifteen minutes, and I also like to have a big washing up bowl of hot, soapy water to hand, for sticky hands as well as regular washing up of all the bowls and pans used along the way…..I am not a fan of adding my baking tools and tins to the dishwasher, especially as some of them are vintage and belonged to my mum or grandmothers. I decided to tinker with Mary’s recipe, I hope she forgives me and as I remember that the base of these classic biscuits is similar to Brandy Snaps and as I had some stem ginger in the fridge, (and because I am a ginger fiend!) I added some ground ginger and some chopped stem ginger to my recipe, and used 55% dark chocolate for the chocolate coating too. BUT, the basic science of the recipe remains the same, with one other exception, I had no Demerara sugar, so I used soft brown sugar instead – but with great results as you can see from my photos. My Florentines came out looking suitably lacy and were crisp and thin……I was very pleased with the “bake” as Mary and Paul would say. I had fun decorating them with the chocolate, and it’s fair to say that I was also coated in chocolate, as were several items of kitchen furniture, as I darted between the sink and my camera! I discovered that the best way to get those “zigzags” was to allow to chocolate to set slightly, and then get to work with a fork. Once the chocolate is applied to the FLAT side of the biscuits, the crisp base does become more chewy, and much like I remember Florentines to be like……Mary kept going on about how they needed to be very crisp, but mine ended up being crunchy around the edges and delightfully chewy in the middle, which is the best of both worlds for me. The addition of the ginger was a triumph, unless you are not a ginger lover that is, and these were even enjoyed by my husband who regular readers will know doe NOT have a sweet tooth.
I hope that you all approve of my gingered up version of Mary Berry’s Florentine recipe, if you are NOT a ginger lover, then please omit the ginger and follow the original recipe here: Mary Berry’s Florentine Recipe. That’s it for today, have a WONDERFUL weekend and I’ll see you next week with more recipes, reviews and some traveller’s tales too! Karen