Florentinas, in one form or another, should be a standard component of a dessert buffet. These small pastries and the variations that follow, which demonstrate the versatility of Florentina batter, are ideally suited for a buffet or other assorted pastry display. It seems almost impossible to make enough of these popular pastries; one reason is that nobody takes just one. Their popularity is evident beginning in the kitchen: The scrap pieces left after trimming the cookies make a great addition to rum ball filling but, mysteriously, they rarely make it that far. (In fact, sometimes my students are able to produce perfectly trimmed cookies with no scrap pieces whatsoever!) I must admit this is one sweet I have trouble staying away from myself.
I enjoy Florentina pastries most once they start to get a little soft and chewy; however, they are a bit difficult to handle and serve at that point. Although planning ahead usually makes this a moot point, the one drawback to Florentinas in a production kitchen is that they will not keep to the following day once filled with a moist filling such as the cream filling used here. Shells filled with a ganache or flavored buttercream mixture will keep longer. Unfilled shells, on the other hand, can be stored for several weeks, well covered, in a dry location.
The shapes and fillings used in the variations are all interchangeable; you can fill the cones with the noisette or coconut filling, pipe Chantilly cream in the tube shapes, and so on. If you use the coconut filling in the cone shape, dip the entire opening into coating chocolate to cover the filling.
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