As May slipped into June, the roses in my neighbourhood have been bursting forth into bloom. The ubiquitous-on-Instagram peony rose has always been a favourite with its billowing petals; all the more special for its fleeting beauty. I couldn’t resist making an appropriately rosy recipe to celebrate the season. I often think of florentines as a festive bake (here’s my go-to florentine recipe here) but this burnt honey and rose version, via Ruby Tandoh, is a seasonal, grown-up take on the classic biscuit with complex flavour profiles bringing Summer sophistication. Honey has a surprisingly mellower flavour once simmered for a few minutes and here it adds a toffee-like note, balancing the aromatic rose and cutting through the caramel-rich fruit and nut mixture. To make them, you will need:
50g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
1 tbsp single cream
1 tsp rosewater
50g flaked almonds
50g other dried fruit of your choice – I used dried cranberries
2 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp dried rose petals (you can get these online or from Waitrose)
100g chocolate of your choice (I did a mixture of milk and white!)
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/ Gas 4 and line two trays with baking parchment. Place the honey in a medium pan over a low heat and bring to a simmer.
Once it starts to bubble, leave on the heat for 1 – 2 minutes – until the honey has darkened a few shades and is nice and fragrant. Add the sugar, butter, cream and rosewater to the mixture, stir to combine and bring back to a simmer.
As soon as it reaches a boil, take off the heat and add the flour, beating to combine. Then add the dried fruit, nuts and rose petals. Stir until fully coated.
Spoon small mounds of the mixture onto the baking trays, keeping the florentines spaced well apart – even more so than below as mine almost became conjoined! Bake for 15 – 17 minutes; the mixture will have spread and turned golden brown around the lacy looking edges.
Once baked, but while still hot, carefully nudge the edges inwards using a spoon to push them into neater circles.
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water, or in small bursts in the microwave. Spread the underside of each florentine with chocolate, using a palette knife or pastry brush. Allow to set before drizzling more chocolate over the top, and a wee sprinkling of rose petals. Leave to set in the fridge if necessary.
What are you baking this weekend? Are you celebrating peony season?