The variations on the financiers theme are endless
Dutch version coming soon…
A financier is a small French cake, often associated with friands or friandises, which can indicate all kinds of small sweet ‘pâtisserie ou pièce de confiserie’. The financier is light and moist, and contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds, or almond flavoring. The distinctive feature of the recipe is beurre noisette (brown butter / hazelnut butter). Other ingredients include egg whites, flour, and icing sugar. Financiers are baked in shaped molds, usually small rectangular loaves.
The name financier is said to derive from the traditional rectangular mold, which resembles a bar of gold. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding the Paris stock exchange.
So financier molds are traditionally rectangular, but other shapes are very much allowed too of course. We use a silicon pan which works very well for us. We do not grease the pan, just pipe the mixture and release the financiers right after baking.
This recipe is rather basic, but oh so good (the simple things usually are). You can add all kinds of flavors, extra ingredients, coatings and toppings, but we suggest you start with this ‘humble’ version and let the almonds and the wonderful structure of this sweet delight do the talking. The dried cherry in the middle is also an option, but one we highly recommend because they marry so very happily with the almond flavor.
Ingredients for the financiers
Amount depending on tin size
30 g pastry flour
85 g almond flour
100 g butter made into beurre noisette (see below)
150 g icing sugar
three egg whites / 95 g
pinch of salt
Making the beurre noisette
Beurre noisette or hazelnut butter is simply butter cooked until golden brown, which gives off a delicious nutty aroma. The process is very simple. Place butter slices in a saucepan and let it melt. Continue cooking until the butter becomes golden brown. The butter is ready when lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. Smell the butter; it should have a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and stop the cooking process by pouring the nutty butter into a cold bowl or putting the saucepan in a sink of cold water.
Recipe for the financiers
In a bowl, combine the sugar, pinch of salt, flour and almond flour (you can add a few drops of almond extract if you like a real intense flavor). Add the egg whites and stir with a whisk until you have a smooth mixture, a minute is enough. Now add the beurre noisette in a steady stream while whisking continuously. Now transfer the batter to a piping bag and put it in the fridge for one hour.
Preheat your oven to 200 °C / 390 °F conventional setting.
Fill the financier molds, add a dried cherry and press it in the center of the batter of each mold. Bake the financiers for about 15-20 minutes (depending on size) until golden brown. If you use a flexible mold you can release them right after baking, leave them 5 minutes with other molds. Let the financiers cool on a wire rack. Best eaten while fresh but they keep very well in the freezer and are still wonderful after a short period at room temperature.