Monday, 5 July 2010

Cherry hazelnut financiers

I recall the first time I came across financiers a few years back. It looked very much like a cupcake, in fact, I did think it was a cupcake until I bit into it and was pleasantly surprised at its texture - somewhat of a cross between a sponge cake and a moist cookie. The one I had was made with almond flour topped with berries.... yummy!

A little bit of research about financiers taught me that they are traditionally made flourless and baked in ingot-shaped pans, hence the name. A classic french petit four, no good baker should ever mistake it for a cupcake, so I'm told! The must-have base ingredient of a classic financier is beurre noisette, or brown butter, giving it a wonderful and distinct buttery & nutty flavor. These days financiers are commonly baked with fruit toppings.

Over the weekend I got my hands on a big bag of cherries. Perfect for a hazelnut financiers recipe I've been wanting to try out. I love financiers with almonds, but I love it even more when its with hazelnuts!!

Recipe below adapted from FCI's Fundamental Technique of Classic Pastry Arts (makes about 18).

- 190 unsalted butter (for the beurre noisette)
- 30 g cake flour
- 30 g bread flour
- 190 g sugar
- 135 g hazelnut paste
- 150 g egg whites, at room temperature
- cherries for topping

1. Place butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the milk solids have separated out in the bottom of the pan, and the butter has turned a light, golden brown and has a very nutty aroma. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine the cake and bread flours in a mixing bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon to blend. Add the sugar and hazelnut paste, stirring until very well blended.
3. Then, add the egg whites, a bit at a time, beating well and scraping down on the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.
4. Stir in the cooled beurre noisette, beating until the batter is smooth.
5. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate the batter for 1 hour, or until well chilled.
6. Preheat the oven to 177 C.
7. Fill cupcake baking cups (up to 2/3 full).
8. Bake financiers for 10 minutes.
9. Remove financiers from oven and top each financier with a cherry, pressing the cherry halfway into the dough.
10. Bake financiers with cherry for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Best served warm.



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