The Story of How a Florentine Became a Truffle

My friend Ian commented to me today about the post I did on a recipe that I had made that it didn’t turn out so well.  He thought it was odd that on a food blog I would actually talk about things that didn’t work.  I think that cooking, even when you have been doing it as long as I have, can sometimes surprise you and sometimes those surprises aren’t good.  To me there is a valuable lesson in there.  Usually there is some way to make your mistake better.  Todays post is an example of this.

You can see by how many pictures there are that I was planning on doing a post on this hard to make but utterly tasty Candied Orange and Crystalized Ginger Florentines.  I’ve made this cookies twice before and I remember that each time I made them they were a challenge.  This time the challenge was too much for me.  Here is the recipe and tale of how these Candied Orange and Crystalized Ginger Florentines became:  Candied Orange and Crystalized Ginger Truffles.

If you don’t have a serrated swivel peeler it’s well worth the 8 bucks, it allows you to peel an orange perfectly without getting any of the pith (they also peel peaches perfectly eliminating the need for a hot water bath).

This recipe was adapted from Judith Olney’s: The Joy of Chocolate

Candied Orange, Almond and Crystalized Ginger Truffles
So with your serrated swivel peeler in hand, peel 2 medium oranges (I think Valencia have better flavor and organic ones have less pesticide residue than conventional).  Cut the peel into thin 1″ julienne and place in a pan with 1/2 cup Water and 1/4 cup of Sugar, let simmer over very low heat until the bottom of the pan is covered only with glazed strips of oranges.  Don’t let them caramelize, discard extra syrup.
Once thoroughly drained toss in about 2 Tablespoons of sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl add 2 Tablespoons of roughly chopped crystalized ginger, 1/2 cup of sliced Almond, and the Candied Orange.

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan melt 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter1/3 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt over medium high heat, let just come to a boil then quickly remove from heat and stir in 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream.

Add to the orange/ginger/almond mixture.

OK this is were things started to go wrong.  According to the recipe you butter and flour a cookie sheet and spoon out tablespoon portion of the batter onto it.  DON’T DO THIS.

Instead cover a cookie sheet with parchment and butter it.  Pour the enture batter on the pan and spread the mixture out – trying to get the nuts and candied fruit well placed all over the pan. It will spread like wild fire so don’t be too fussy with this part.  Be sure when you butter the pan you butter the sides as well.

Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the misture is ever so lightly browned.

You can see here how those dainty little rounds went ballistic and how you are then to swoop in with a cookie cutter and cut out nice rounds from the mess.  Which you then place on another cookie sheet and refrigerate.  DON’T DO THIS.

It’s not so clear in the above picture, but a lot of those florentines are reassembled pieces that I figured would be fine once I did the chocolate phase.

Instead of this insanity  – when the brittle has browned remove it from the oven and let cool.  After about 10 minutes lift the parchment off the pan and crumble the brittle into a big bowl.

Below was the next step, the chocolate coating – don’t get me started on this.

Grrrrrrrr so you see I managed to get 4 Florentines made which I realize had already started to melt and adhere to the platter I had place them on.  At this point I took the entire kit and kaboodle and dumped it into a pot.  DON’T DO THIS.

Melt 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter in a heavy bottomed pot, add 2 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream and heat until just about to boil then add 6 ounces of finely chopped 70 percent Dark Chocolate and stir, off the heat, until it is melted.
Stir into the chocolate half of the brittle.  Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is cool, but pliable.  Roll into balls (about 1 tablespoon) then roll each ball into the remaining brittle.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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