Ok I did mention in twitter (@sweesan) that it was gonna be an apricot-posts week. But I was too busy with cake orders that I didn’t even had time to reply comments or draft a post, or even edit any pictures. To further illustrate the hardship for the past 2 days, on the day prior to delivery, I actually didn’t sleep at all, delivered the cakes at 5am in the morning, came back home then slept at 8.30am till 12 noon, then went to work at 1pm.
Heh.. They were cakes for TNT ARN’s 5th Anniversary celebration. Luckily all of them managed to fit the boxes and INTO my little car.. plus a freaking huge cake!! Rolling fondant for a 2 feet long cake is NOT FUN!! period. Anyways.. that’s done and am back to these apricots!
Remember the apricot story.. And the Apricot Ice Cream. Now this time, I’ve decided on making financiers! I haven’t made these little French cookies since more than 3 years ago. The last time I made it was when I was in Le Cordon Bleu, and surely of course, I couldn’t remember much about them. At least not as much as madeleines. Initially the idea was to make a tart with almond cream but, making a tart means making 2 different things and much more waiting time. So I decided to be a little lazy and made financiers instead.
Financiers are as rich as the bankers they were named for. They’re made from ground almonds, sugar, unwhipped egg whites, flour and an enormous quantity of melted butter, which is cooked until it is golden brown. And, in keeping with the theme, the cakes were originally baked in rectangular pans, so that they ended up resembling ingots.
*from Dorie Greenspan
I made mine with hazelnut meal instead of ground almond as I had finished it and it was probably late at night and the shops are all closed for me to get my hands on some almond meal. Beurre noisette is just as important, they impart a strong nutty flavour, which surely makes these financiers smell amazing! But one thing I didn’t like it was the colour. Ground hazelnut tends to have a darker and greyish colour, as compared to almond that produces a lighter shade of brown or cream.
Financiers work with alot of fruits. One can use blueberries, raspberries, strawberry, stone fruits, pear, chocolate chips and even rhubarb. Oh well you get the idea. It’s versatile.
Adapted from Paris Sweets, Great Desserts from the City’s Best Pastry Shops
Makes 12 cookies
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces; 180 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1 cup (100 grams) ground almonds (I used ground hazelnut)
6 large egg whites
2/3 cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
6-12 apricots, depending on size
Put the butter in a small saucepan and bring it to the boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. Allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a deep brown, but don’t turn your back on the pan – the difference between brown and black is measured in seconds. Pull the pan from the heat and keep it in a warm place.
Mix the sugar and almonds (hazelnut) together in a medium saucepan. Stir in the egg whites, place the pan over low heat, and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, heat the mixture until it is runny, slightly white and hot to the touch, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour, then gradually mix in the melted butter. Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface of the batter to create an airtight seal, and chill for at least 1 hour. (The batter can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I kept mine for 2 days, it was still fine.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter 12 rectangular financier molds (Dorie’s were tested in 3-3/4 x 2 x 5/8-inch [10 x 5 x 1-1/2-cm] rectangular molds that each hold 3 tablespoons), dust the interiors with flour and tap out the excess. Place the molds on a baking sheet for easy transport. I used a 12-medium fluted tart pan. It was shallow so it was good. Fill in the batter till almost the top and add fruits or nuts if you wish.
Slide the molds into the oven and bake for about 13 minutes, or until the financiers are golden, crowned and springy to the touch. If necessary, run a blunt knife between the cookies and the sides of the pans, then turn the cookies out of their molds and allow them to cool to room temperature right side up on cooling racks.
I know, it’s probably almost the end of apricot season. But you can still use plums or nectarines! 🙂
Have a good weekend