Saturday, May 22, 2010

Financiers? You Mean Fancy Pants Pastries?

Financiers is a scary word. 1. It's french 2. It's long 3. Its sounds fancy and you probably have no idea what it means. Don't worry, I am here to calm all your fears. Yes it is french, but the french really aren't that bad are they? It is a long word, but really when compared to supercalifragilisticexpialidocius it looks short. Finally, to put it simply, financiers are brown butter tea cakes made with some sort of ground nut meal, flour, sugar and egg whites. And unlike macarons, which are composed of similar ingredients, they are fairly easy to make. They are warm and buttery in flavor, not to sweet and have such a light and moist consistency. Plus they are really fancy looking when made in tart molds; people are sure to think you are a gourmand!

They are perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea and once you get the base down you can do so much with them by playing with subtle flavors in the batter and different toppings. I am posting two variations here that are phenomenal: Apricot Lavender and Spring Cherry. Enjoy! and be adventurous, create your own fancy financier!

Apricot and Lavender Financiers
*adapted from Tartelette

  • 1 stick unsalted butter 
  • 1 Tbsp edible lavender (available at Henry's or your backyard)
  • 100 gr (1 cup) unsifted powder sugar
  • 60 gr (1/2 cup) almond meal (available at Trader Joe's)
  • 30 gr (1/4 cup) flour
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 4 apricot sliced thinly
1. Preheat your oven to 375 and lightly grease 6 small tart molds, 12 financiers molds or 12 muffin tins and place them on a baking sheet.

2.  Brown the butter, remove from the heat when it reaches a rich hazelnut brown and soak the lander in it for 5 minutes. Strain out the lavender, making sure the brown sediment does not get left behind, and set the butter aside.

3. Mix the powder sugar, flour, almond meal and salt together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the egg whites and mix on low until the ingredients come together. Increase the mixer to medium speed and add the brown butter, mix until smooth.

4. Divide evenly into your molds and top with the thinly sliced apricots. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Spring Cherry Financiers
Same as the recipe above except omit the lavender and top with halved cherries instead of apricots. 

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