The Quintessential French Cake: Financiers!
This is one of my favorite little desserts to make. It’s super easy and versatile! Great for dessert with tea, a quick pick me up, or just about anything! Crunchy on the outside, and springy and full of buttery, nutty flavor on the inside.
Financiers were first invented in the late 19th century by a pastry shop that was located near the Paris Stock Exchange. The little cakes were meant to resemble gold bars and were perfect for businessmen to grab on their lunch break because a neat little cake meant less crumb travesties on expensive suits.
There are several ways of making financiers but my favorite involves browned butter. The caramelized butter adds so much more depth of flavor and a bit more nuttiness than just plain old melted butter would bring.
Top the financiers with your favorite fruit, just make sure it’s one that doesn’t contain a lot of water like a super ripe peach or you’ll end up with an unbaked top and over baked bottom. What we used to do at the pastry shop I worked for was pipe prepared batter in the molds and push frozen raspberries in the top right before putting them in the oven. I topped these with thinly sliced nectarines.
You can use all sorts of molds for these- just adjust your baking time and take them out when nicely golden and pulling away from the sides. I use a silicone rectangular mold but you can also use regular or mini greased cupcake tins. For the regular size, I would recommend just filling them halfway for a nice look.
113g unsalted butter
30g all purpose flour
55g ground almonds (almond meal, almond flour)
90g confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
90g egg whites
pinch of vanilla powder or “glug” of vanilla extract
Optional: fruit of choice
Start by melting your butter over medium heat. Let it go until you start to see brown pieces form on the bottom, turn off the heat. Give it a swirl and then let it hang out while a few more brown pieces and foam happen. This is quite fun to do because it will sputter away for a bit, then the bubbles will get smaller, foam will start to form, and this is when the browning starts to happen. It also smells delicious…
In a bowl whisk together the flour, ground almonds, confectioners sugar, and salt. Whisk in the egg whites and vanilla, and then the browned butter.
Cover and chill overnight.
Fill molds and top with fruit (figs, nectarine, berries, anything with not a ton of water) and bake at 400F or 200C for about 10 to 20 minutes (this is going to vary greatly depending on your mold) or until nicely golden brown and pulling away from the sides of your mold.
Let cool for at least two minutes and then remove from the mold.