I was beginning to think that Spring might never arrive, it seems to me that it has been dark and rainy for years... but then again I am known to exaggerate a bit. On the bright side, when all seems dark and dreary the little things can really lift your spirits. For example on a typically dark rainy day several weeks ago I arrived home from work to find a parcel waiting for me. I ripped it open to find a lovely tin box of Chinese Flower Tea and a lovely little book sent from my friend Marieke. Marieke, though we haven’t seen each other since she moved to Texas a few years ago, is perhaps the most sunshiny person I have ever known, and this little gift was like a personalised ray of sunshine via Royal Mail. Though I am usually a coffee person I couldn’t wait to taste Marieke’s tea, but I thought it deserved an equally elegant and aromatic accompaniment and I knew just the thing...
I had wanted to make Financiers for a while now but I had been having some difficulty finding the right pans. I know that many people cook them in muffin pans, but I really wanted them to be the little gold bars that they were intended to be in origin (as they were so when first introduced in Paris’ financial district). Finally after a bit of a pan-palaver, involving having to cancel an order that had still not arrived after almost a month, I stumbled across the perfect sized pans (both standard and mini) almost by accident on Ebay listed as a silicone chocolate bar moulds.
Financiers are lovely little tea cakes made with ground almonds, sugar, egg whites and brown butter, also known as buerre noisette. It is worth noting that the difference between melted butter, brown butter and ultimately blackened butter, is no more than a sightly distracted conversation away, so pay attention. You will know when it is ready when the room fills with the smell of toasted hazelnuts. Mmmm... toasty buttered hazelnuts!
The lemon-lime curd is incidentally the result of the leftover egg yolks, but the zingy citrus contrasts perfectly with the rich buttery almond sponge as if they were somehow made for each other.
So even if the clouds above are grey and wet, these Financiers with Zingy Lemon-Lime Curd will surely to brighten your day..., whether you have them with tea or coffee.
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets...
180 g unsalted butter
200 g caster sugar
100 g ground almonds
6 large egg whites
90 g plain flour
Put the butter in a small saucepan and bring it to the boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. Allow the butter to boil until it becomes a rich brown colour. Pour the browned butter from the pan to a bowl (or it will continue to cook) storing it at room temperature
In a large bowl mix the sugar, flour, salt, and almond meal until blended. Add the egg whites, 1/3 at a time, until fully incorporated. Take a small amount of the batter (2 or 3 tbsp) and mix into the melted butter, once smooth and silky add to the rest of the batter- this will make it easier to combine the butter.
Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate from 1 hour to 3 days.
Preheat the oven 200 degrees °C. If you do not have silicone moulds, butter the financiers moulds dusting the interiors with flour and tap out the excess.
Fill each mold almost to the top with batter and bake in the middle of the oven for about 10-15 minutes (ovens can really vary!), or until the financiers are golden. When the are done you should be able to press down and they should spring back.
My moulds are about 9 x 4.5 cm (3 x 1 3/4 inches) but if you are making mini financiers you will have to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
250 g caster sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg (whole, lightly beaten)
200 ml lemon or lime juice (or both)
120 g unsalted butter
Combine the butter, lemon juice and sugar in a bain-marie, stirring until the butter is melted sugar is completely dissolved.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring constantly and then add the lightly beaten egg. Continue stirring until the mixture thick and yogurty in texture- probably about 15-20 minutes.
Pour into sterilised jars or a plastic container if you are going to use it up fairly quickly.