Sunday, October 30, 2011

Financiers. The yummy alternative for the 99%

Rejecting Wall Street? Eat yummy financiers instead.

The dense, very nutty flavor of these makes them one of my favorite French recipes. It also means I am not sure how to classify them.

This recipe, which is unique in part because it uses honey, comes from a video I recently found from a very cute French chef who, unfortunately, has since closed down his little cafe on the Ile de France to find "new adventures." oo la.

Here is the video if you'd like to see the method, or just brush up on your french, or simply watch cute french chefs at work. And here is the translation.

100g or between 1/2 and 1/3c butter
100g or 1 cup confectioners sugar
40g or 1/3c flour (I like the nutty flavor of alternative flours, such as whole wheat or country blends)
40g or 1/3c almond powder
50g or about 1/5 c of honey
3 egg whites
a pinch of salt (not sea salt!)

Note: You'll notice the guy in the video uses only a whisk for all of the steps listed below. Stick it to the man and tell him that people were cooking long before they had a kitchen appliance for each possible movement of the hand.

1. Put the butter on the stove in a small pot and heat it "au noisette," which means (as far as I have understood it) over a medium flame until it starts to take some brownish color, but not burned!! My guess is that this gives it a nice nutty flavor, but I am yet to confirm it.

2. Mix the sugar, almond powder and flour

3. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the egg whites and beat them well, but not quite "en neige," which is when they start to fluff up into a foam for mousse or other fluffy deserts. The pinch of salt will help them fluff a little, instead of just becoming the well-beat eggs you would use in an omelet.

4. Whip 2&3 vigorously and add the the honey. Without letting up whipping all of the above, pour in the melted butter. As the butter is hot, and there are raw eggs in the mixture, if you pour it in without stirring, you'll get lovely scrambled eggs in your delicate french desert

5. Leave all this in the fridge for 3-4 hours so it will thicken and be much easier to put in the molds. I have not dared to test this method to see if it is simply easier to get them in molds, or actually helps the recipe... in any case, its convenient for inviting guests!

6. Spoon the batter into a plastic bag, cut off the tip and squeeze it into your molds. You can use almost any size or shape, but you might have to adjust the cooking time. The mold in the movie is meant to give tiny versions that he can serve with coffee, which is usually served after desert in the scheme of courses of french cooking. Mine were in muffin sized, oval silicone molds. Silicone is highly recommended. Probably you should butter the mold if not.

7. Bake for 12 minutes at 185ºC/365ºF

8. Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the molds, then gently remove and serve. I actually liked them better the second day because they have a very dense, nutty flavor that seems to melt into itself.

yields 30 tiny financiers, 8 of these large muffin sized financiers, or whatever. Note: If you're using a metal cupcake pan and there are unfilled sections, fill each empty spot about half way with water. This keeps the temperature of the pan even and the can often do nice things to your baked goods! Its the secret to crunchy-outside-soft-inside bread!

Happy Birthday Karen!
Also pictured here are brownies from the Smitten Kitchen, which is by far the most wonderful food blog I've ever seen, and a "Real Proper Custard" recipe from the BBC that I found to use the 3 egg yolks I had left over from this financier recipe... I suggest upping the sugar to 50g and eating it cold the next day!

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