What happens when you crave a home baked sweet treat but haven’t quite got all the right ingredients to hand? Jack Monroe shows how you can improvise with very little money! Discover how she makes 10 large "almost Florentines" for under a pound.
It’s rare that I do a ‘sweets and treats’ recipe, but sometimes you just want one, you know? This little beauty came about on Saturday evening, after I’d been buried in work all day, and finally came up for air craving a Florentine at 8 o’ clock at night. Knowing full well that I didn’t have any flaked almonds lying about (and come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I did!), I decided to improvise and substitute and make the closest thing to a Florentine I could, without leaving the house.
Ingredients (96p made 10 enormous ones, 10cm across each):
4 tbsp oil (vegetable or sunflower)
4 tbsp flour
100g natural yoghurt
100g corn flakes
100g sultanas (any dried fruit will do)
100g chocolate (milk, plain or white)
Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly grease a baking sheet. Set to one side.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil and yoghurt and mix well. Pour in the sugar, flour, sultanas and corn flakes, crushing them slightly with a spoon but leaving most whole. Fold the corn flakes and the sultanas into the yoghurt and oil until well combined.
Dollop a very heaped tablespoon of mixture onto the baking tray, gently shaping into a round shape using the edge of a knife or spoon. The smaller the Florentine is, the more you will make from the mixture, and the more easily they hold their shape. Leave an inch between each, and repeat until the baking tray is full.
Pop into the centre of the pre heated oven for 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden.
In the meantime, while the Florentines are cooking, fill a saucepan 1/3 full of water, and bring to the boil. Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl that fits over the saucepan without touching the water (if the water touches the bowl, the chocolate will become bitter!). Balance the bowl on the saucepan to melt the chocolate.
When the Florentines are cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the baking tray. If you try to remove them while they are soft, they will fall apart.
When the Florentines are warm to touch, and slightly solidified, remove from the baking tray onto a cool plate, turning over so the flat underside is facing upwards.
Using a pastry brush, or a tablespoon and your fingers, spread the melted chocolate thickly along the bottom of each florentine, continuing until all of the chocolate is used. Leave to set for at least an hour - I pop mine in the fridge as I am impatient!
When the chocolate on the underside has hardened, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.
Prices calculated using the Sainsbury's and Sainsbury's Basics products, correct on 28th September 2013:
Vegetable oil £4.50/3l (3p/tbsp). Plain flour 65p/1.5kg (3p/tbsp). Natural yoghurt 45p/500g (9p/100g). Sugar 89p/1kg (9p/100g). Corn flakes 31p/500g (6p/100g). Sultanas 84p/500g (17p/100g). Milk chocolate 31p/100g. Total cost of ingredients used: 96p.
If you want to make Florentines ‘properly’, then substitute the corn flakes for flaked almonds, the sultanas for candied peel, the natural yoghurt for creme fraiche, the oil for butter and add a shake of ground ginger… I like my version better - seeing its made entirely from ‘normal’ ingredients that I have in the cupboard, I’m never more than an effort away from a batch of giant Florentines. Or as near as damn it. Oh dear.
For more delicious budget recipes visit Jack’s blog posts at Great British Chefs.