Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Financiers ..... my new obsession!

I don't know how I can continue to come up with these new obsessions, but I do! That's why I have a blog, so I can document all of this, for my family to talk about me when I'm long gone!
So....... my new obsession is Financiers!
They were created in bakeries in Paris that were near the financial district. The small financier cakes were baked in pans shaped like bars of gold. They were also created as a way to use left over egg whites from other recipes.
On our many visits to France, I know that my wife and I have tasted these wonderful cakes and never took the time to research the history or really even know what they were.
When you're in Paris and you see the windows of the incredible bakery and pastry shops, you're only interest is to buy the amazing delights in the window. Now that I know about financiers we will definitely be aware of them the next time we're in France.




financier is a small French cake, often mistaken for a pastry. The financier is light and moist, similar to sponge cake, and usually contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds, or almond flavoring. The distinctive feature of the recipe is beurre noisette (brown butter).[1] Other ingredients include egg whites, flour, and powdered sugar. Financiers are baked in shaped molds, usually small rectangular loaves similar in size to petits fours.[1]
The name financier is said to derive from the traditional rectangular mold, which resembles a bar of gold. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding the Paris stock exchange.
Financier pans are traditionally rectangular, but other shapes are not uncommon.

Traditional Financier Recipe:

1 1/4 C flour
1 1/4 C confectioner' sugar
1 C ground almond meal (place almonds, skins on or off, in a food processor or coffee bean grinder. Pulse until it looks like medium - fine texture. Don't over process or it will create a paste. Just pulse. Place in a flour sifter to remove any large pieces and return the remainder to the processor and pulse again . Continue until you have the correct amount for a recipe.
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
6 ounces of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Prepare a financier pan with softened butter. If using silicone it's not necessary.

In a large mixing bowl. whisk together:
flour
sugar
almond meal
salt

Make a well in the center of the flour.
Add egg whites.
Use a wooden spoon and mix into a paste.

Melt butter and add to the flour mixture.
Stir until all of the butter is incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Fill the financier wells 3/4 full.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 5 minutes.
Turn off the oven, keep the door closed and leave them for 2 minutes.
Remove the pan and cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Release the cakes onto a cooking rack and cool completely.


I bought an incredible cookbook that are recipes from the beloved Parisian Confectioner, A La Mere De Famille. The shop was founded in 1761. It's located on the West Bank on the Rue Faubourg Montmartre. There's also one on one of our favorite streets, Rue Cler. We've stayed at a very charming hotel just a block away.Their other shop is on Rue Jouffroy d'Abbans. The next time you're in Paris, be sure and visit one of the locations.

The book starts out with two great recipes for Financiers, Morello Cherry and Hazelnut. Here are the recipes:

Morello Cherry Financiers:
6 TBS (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 C confectioner's sugar
1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C ground almonds or almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 eggs whites, lightly beaten
60 Morello Cherries in liqueur, drained

In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, gently brown the butter. (Gently melt butter, it will begin to bubble, then foam. When all of the water evaporates and the milk solids fall to the bottom and begin to turn the color of hazelnuts, immediately pour the butter into a cold container to stop the cooking process).
In a large mixing bowl:
sugar
flour
ground almonds
baking powder
Whisk together to combine.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Add the egg whites and the brown butter.
Stir by hand, until everything is incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place a silicone financier pan with 12 wells on a baking sheet and fill each mold just under the rim with the batter.
Dot each mold with 5 cherries.
Bake for 13 minutes. The cake will be light brown and will spring back to the touch.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Un mold the cakes to the cooling rack.
Eat warm or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Hazelnut Financiers:

1/2 C Hazelnuts
6 TBS (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 C confectioner's sugar
1/2 C flour
1/2 C ground Hazelnuts (follow the same process as above for the Almonds)
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 egg whites, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Place Hazelnuts on a sheet pan and toast them for about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, gently brown the butter.

In a large mixing bowl:
sugar
flour
ground hazelnuts
baking powder
Whisk together to combine

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Add egg whites and brown butter.
Stir by hand until everything is incorporated.

Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Place a silicone financier pan with 12 wells on a baking sheet and fill each mold just under the rim with the batter.
Dot each mold with toasted Hazelnuts.
Bake for 15 minutes.
The cake will be light brown and will spring back to the touch.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Un mold the cakes to the cooling rack. 
Eat warm or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

In conclusion to this story and recipes about Financiers, I sent a message to my friend and cookbook author Ellise Pierce and asked her about her experience with Financiers and she told me about a recipe in her book (Cowgirl Chef, Texas Cooking with a French Accent) . If you haven't gotten a copy of it I highly recommend it. It explains what it's like to be a Texan and have a passion for all things French. I share the same passion as Ellise. I was elated to have had the opportunity to meet her and attend one of her classes.
Here is her recipe titled Brown Butter Walnut Cakes ( Financiers Aux Noix)

2 sticks/250 grams of butter, plus more for buttering the muffin tin
5 ounces/140 grams of walnuts, toasted and finely ground
1 cup/200 grams of sugar
1/2 cup/70 grams of flour
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
6 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350'F/180'C and generously butter a 24-mini muffin tin.

To make the brown butter melt your butter in a saucepan over low heat until it turns brown and begins to smell nutty - the butter should gurgle bubbles - this'll take about 10 minutes. Whatever you do, don't try to rush this - or you'll end up with burned butter. Once it's brown and nutty, pour into a bowl and let it cool.

In your mixer bowl, whisk together the walnuts, sugar, flour and sea salt. Add the egg whites and mix well. Add the brown butter and mix just until it comes together - don't overdo. Scoop the batter into your greased muffin tin, filling three- quarters to the top. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and the little cakes' tummies rise up out of the pan - they really do this! Flip the over and whack it on your countertop, and the cakes should fall right out. Serve immediately - these are best the day that you make them.

Thank you Ellise for all that you do , all the recipes and fun stories you have shared in your book!
From one Texan to another......... a la prochaine mon ami!


I found two vintage Lady Finger / Financier pans at an Antique Mall. The were not in good condition. I spent time cleaning them and re conditioning them so that they were ready to use again. They turned out great!


This is after they were scrubbed in hot dishwater just to get them clean.
This is the end result. I heated them in the oven at 375 degrees.
I boiled Water and had White Vinegar and Baking Soda ready for the
next step. I set the hot pan in the sink, filled the pan with boiling water,
vinegar and baking soda. After it foamed. I rinsed it in how water and dish soap.
I dried them and did the process one  more time. I dried them again, in the oven.
I brushed the pans with vegetable oil , wiped them with a paper towel
and placed them back in the oven to dry completely.
They are non stick and ready to make Financiers.

Enjoy!
Peace in the Kitchen!

In 2015 I was on a Nutella Kick. I won second place in the Dallas Morning News/Central Market Holiday Cookie Contest with my Original recipe for Hazelnut Balls. It was in the Easy Category. This was my 7th year to be juried into the competition. I thought I'd add this recipe the the Financiers post for Nutella Financiers!
For this recipe you can use the traditional Financier Pan, a Langue de Chat Pan or a Gem Pan.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Financier Pans brushed well with Pan Release Mix. (equal parts of Crisco, Vegetable Oil and Flour) I start with 1 C of each mixed well and refrigerated in a jar. I always have it available for all of my baking needs.

5 TBS Butter
1.2 C Flour
1 C Confectioner's Sugar
3/4 Finely ground Almonds
4 Egg Whites, divided
Nutella

In a Saucepan on low heat:
Butter
Heat until melted.

Ina medium mixing bowl:
Flour
Sugar
Almonds
Whisk well.

Add:
Egg Whites, one at a time.
Whisk well after each addition.

Add:
Butter
Whisk well.

Pour the batter into the Financier Wells, 1/2 full.
Add:
1 tsp of Nutella on top of the batter.
Cover with additional Batter,
Bake 10 - 12 minutes.

Enjoy!
Peace in the Kitchen!






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