Financiers count among the biggest wonders in the world of pastry. Few ingredients, simple preparation and marvellous, sophisticated result. I have already written about them quite a long time ago (here), but this new summer fruit version turned out so good, I absolutely wanted to share it with you. As I have written in my old post, Financiers are one of the most famous French pastry items and a pure delight for almond fans. They contain almost no flour, but mainly butter, powdered almonds, egg whites and sugar, so you can imagine how intense the almond taste is.
Baked since the Middle Ages by French nuns of the Visitation of Mary, at first they were not called financiers and had an oval form. Then, for a certain time they were forgotten and around 1890, Lasne, a Parisian confectioner, revived the recipe. Since his shop was close to the stock market and financiers were his regular clients, he named the cakes “financiers” and transformed their form into the one recalling a gold ingot, probably thinking they appealed more to his clients. I usually make my financiers in muffin forms, but this time somehow the rectangular shape seemed more appropriate.
Financiers have different versions and raspberry addition seems quite popular, especially in the summer. When I decided to add the fruits I was worried that their acidity might spoil the perfect harmony of the Financiers. Luckily I was wrong. Raspberries bring a subtle tangy note, but they disturb neither the Financiers’ extremely soft, mouth-melting consitency nor their sophisticated taste. I encourage everyone to try this version before raspberries disappear from market stalls.
My recipe comes from Leçons de cuisine de l’école Ritz-Escoffier . The only thing I have modified is the sugar amount (70 g instead of the original 85g).
TIPS: Financiers are very easy to prepare and are an excellent occasion to use up egg whites. Finding powdered (not only ground) almonds might be difficult. I always buy ground almonds and sift them through a sieve. The leftover, big bits of ground almonds are excellent to prepare the even easier Thumbprint Almond Cookies (see the recipe here) or Kings’ Pie (Galette des Rois), which is also a good way to use up two yolks, leftover from this small batch of Financiers…
Click here for some ideas of using the remaining egg yolks.
The only tricky part is taking the financiers out of the forms. They should be cold and handled delicately.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Ingredients (for 6 muffin forms or rectangular, similarly sized forms or 12 mini-muffin shaped forms):
50 g (about 1,8 oz) powdered almonds
70 g (about 2,5 oz) sugar
50 g (about 1,8 oz) butter
2 egg whites
1 heaped tablespoon flour
a pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Prepare the “beurre noisette” (lit. hazelnut butter): heat the butter in a pan on a low heat and observe the milk solids, which will separate at the bottom. When they become light brown (hazelnut colour), put the pan aside.
Combine the egg whites, the sugar, the almond powder, the pinch of salt and the flour in a big bowl. Add gradually the butter, mixing with a spoon.
Pour the mixture into greased – with butter – muffin or rectangular forms (or other small cakes forms) 2/3 of their height.
Place two raspberries in each financier.
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until golden.
Let them cool down before taking out of the forms.