Financiers are one of the most famous French cakes and an obligatory experience for every almonds fan. In fact, they hardly contain any flour, no vanilla or other aromatic ingredients and are a quintessence of what an almond cake should taste like. They are soft, have a very sophisticated, yet simple taste and disappear very quickly, so I usually make a double portion. Produced since the Middle Ages by the French nuns of the Visitation of Mary, 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 have baked financiers dozens of times and even though at the beginning I used my special ingot shaped forms, I quickly started to prefer the muffin-shaped ones. I simply find them cuter this way and even cuter when baked in mini-muffin forms. Financiers are very easy to prepare and are an excellent occasion to use up egg whites. The only tricky thing might be finding powdered (not only ground) almonds, but 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):
The financiers recipe I have been doing since I remember comes from Leçons de cuisine de l’école Ritz-Escoffier . The only thing I modified is the sugar amount (70 g instead of the original 85g).
BEWARE! You might be convinced (I was too!) that something labelled as “almond flour” would be perfect here… I have recently noticed online products labelled in English as “almond flour” are in reality ground almonds… For this recipe you must use almonds powdered to a point where they resemble almost wheat flour, so if you realise you have coarser product (which frankly should be labelled as almond meal or simply ground almonds), sieve it.
Click here for some ideas of using the remaining egg yolks.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Ingredients (6 muffin shaped financiers or 12 mini-muffin shaped):
50 g powdered almonds
70 g sugar
50 g 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 forms (or other small cakes forms) 2/3 of their height.
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until golden.
Let them cool down before taking out of the forms.