I’ve missed baking. The relentless heatwaves this summer have really cramped my style. To use my sourdough starter, I’ve made almost weekly batches of these waffles because I can’t bear to turn on my oven and bake bread.
Today is marginally cooler and I decided to seize the opportunity “to make a florintine” from a recipe in MS Codex 252.
Alyssa and I have seen many recipes for “florentine” in manuscript cookbooks. This specific recipe is a sweet almond filling baked in a pastry crust. There are, however, other “florentines” out there. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a florentine as “A kind of pie or tart; esp. meat baked in a dish with a cover of paste” and notes the range of spinach dishes called “florentine” from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. (The OED cites a Hannah Glasse recipe which looks like the 252 recipe with added spinach and cheese. )
to make a florintine
take halfe a pound of the beast Almonds blanch them and beat them as
smalle as the can with rosse watter ore oring flower watter put in a quater of
a pound of fine sugar beating them well together then take 4 eggs leveing
out the whites, then take a pound of butter and let it be uery good
melt it and then mingle it all together in the butter and soe put
it in to puffe paist
Our recipe is quartered from the specific proportions in the original and starts with ground almonds. I decided to use rosewater instead of orange blossom water, but feel free to use either. The original recipe suggests both as options.
1/2 C ground almonds
1t rosewater (or orange blossom water)
1/4 C sugar
1 egg yolk
8 T unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 batch pastry (Use your favorite pie crust recipe here. I used Mark Bittman’s recipe from How to Cook Everything)
Preheat your oven to 350F. Butter a pie dish. Roll out your crust and put it in your prepared pie dish.
In a large bowl stir the ground almonds, rosewater, and sugar together. Add an egg yolk and stir with a whisk to combine. Add the melted butter and stir with a whisk to combine. Pour the almond mixture into your prepared crust. Trim or roll excess pastry to make the edges neat.
Bake for 30 minutes until the almonds and crust are golden. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
My British spouse Joseph looked at finished product and asked if I had made Bakewell tart. This was a great guess. The “florintine” from MS Codex 252 is similar to a Bakewell tart but it lacks that iconic layer of fruit compote underneath the almond filling.
This is a sweet, buttery, nutty tart. The rosewater is a mild note amidst the other deep flavors. With Bakewell tart on my mind, I spread some raspberry jam on my second piece and liked it even better. Serve this with fresh or cooked fruit or preserves.