These morsel of honey-almond goodness are underwhelming at first glance. But anyone who's taken a bit out of the dense dough is unable to resist "MMMMing." That's because it's hard to believe these small beige bites could hold so much honeyed, almond flavour. I like to serve these financiers, made in a mini muffin pan if you're not lucky enough to get an authentic financier pan, with coffee and tea and fruit. This recipe comes from the mignardises chapter in the Chocolate & Zucchini book, from which I've made the chocolate-dipped hazelnut marbles in the past.
If you always happen to have blanched almonds lying around, like I do, this is a great recipe to turn to in a pinch, when guests are coming over and you only have bruised apples in your fridge.
Dusoulier says the financier is usually rectangular in shape and resembles a gold ingot, therefore the name.
1 cup whole blanched almonds
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, and extra for greasing your pan
1/3 cup good quality honey
2 large eggs or 4 large egg whites
1. Grind the almonds and sugar until finely ground. Add to the flour and salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. After it begins to simmer, let it keep cooking for 2 minutes until it becomes golden brown and begins to smell nutty (this is called beurre noisette). Add the honey and stir to melt.
3. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Add eggs, one by one, whisking after each one. Pour the batter into a food storage bag, squeeze out the air, and close tightly. You can use this as a makeshift pastry bag to pipe the batter into your pan. Chill for one hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease your pan with butter. While it says you needn't worry if your pan is non-stick, I've found it sticks anyway. So go ahead and grease, and dust with flour.
5. Snip corner of bag and pipe into pan, filling batter nearly to rim.
6. Bake 12 to 16 minutes, depending on size of mold, until golden and set. Let stand a few minutes before taking them out of the molds. These can keep for four days at room temperature in airtight container or they can also be frozen for up to a month. Heat them in your microwave for a couple of seconds if you wish.
I didn't have sea salt handy, so I used kosher salt. I've also used regular salt in the past. Both turned out just fine. I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and half the amount of almond extract. The flavour was undeniably less subtle, but I don't think my additions were necessary. To make the financiers more springy, and less heavy, I used only egg whites this time. Dusoulier also recommends leaving out the honey and increasing the sugar to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons to make classic financiers. You can also use half almonds and half hazelnuts and plop a raspberry in the molds before baking. She also suggests trying 1 tablespoon of finally grated citrus zest to the dry ingredients.
Would I make this again?
Sure, I've already made it a couple of times. Like I said, this is an easy one to make last minute. Be warned however, the yield is not big. You will have to serve this with fruit or something else otherwise the financiers will barely cover a large pan.
Four stars out of five. This is easy to whip up for someone who is accustomed to baking, but I can see it go wrong for an amateur who is fearful in the kitchen and might not grind the almonds enough, or let's the butter burn. Can't hurt to try, though.