From Florence with Love...
More brownies and this time they come complete with a delicious Florentine topping. These brownies by guest chef Sarah Randell for high street stalwarts Sainsbury's are a great balance of naughty and nice, with a little something to please everyone.
Now, before we get on to the cooking part, let's just take moment to explore the origins of the Florentine topping. Obviously the delicious fruit and nut topping is a variation on that classic lacy biscuit of the same name that, whether dipped in chocolate or not, threatens to tear your grannies dentures clean out at first bite! However, unlike many foods featuring a geographical reference, the Florentine doesn't hail from Florence!
Spinach based dishes such as Oeuf a la Florentine do have their origins in Tuscany but, according to Emiko Davies the Florentine is most likely to have originated in 17th Century France as a nod from chefs to their Tuscan cousins. Despite this misleading name, the Florentine, and this topping, is a delicious blend of dried fruits, nuts and chocolate.
So, on to the cooking. Start by melting dark chocolate in a bowl then set aside to cool a little. Next, mix sugar and butter until completely smooth and you can't feel the grains between your fingers. Using brown sugar adds to the delicious caramel richness of the finished brownie.
Beat in your eggs, one at a time, then fold in your flour, chocolate and a pinch of salt (this will make your chocolate taste even more chocolatey!). Pour into a tin or brownie pan and level. For the Florentine topping melt more butter and sugar in a pan then tip in your dried fruit, peel and almonds then mix well. Scatter over the top of your brownie mix then bake until barely cooked through (everyone loves a gooey brownie).
Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares with a very sharp knife. Serve two at a time because with all that dried fruit they're surely healthy..... right?!