favorites, of all French pastries, is the financier. Enriched with nuts, and
moistened with butter, almost every bakery you go into has them. They
come in different sizes, shapes, and even flavors; almond is the most
popular, but you’ll sometimes come across financiers made with ground
hazelnuts or pistachios. I like them all. There are a few theories
how this mini-gâteau got
its curious name.
that, traditionally, they’re baked in small, rectangular
molds. Once baked and unmolded, the little cakes
resemble bars of gold. Another is that even adults in France are known to
indulge in an afternoon sweet stop at their local bakery, for their goûter. Because
people who work in the financial industry normally wear nice outfits or
suits, something that’s neat to eat is appreciated, so they can stay presentable
when heading back to the office.
have to worry about that, nor has anything come out of my oven turned to
gold. (Quelle dommage!)
But when I found myself with some leftover brown butter from infusing it
in bourbon for Brown
Butter Old Fashioneds, since I treat butter like gold, instead
of tossing it, it got repurposed as a base for a batch of financiers.
browned butter keeps the butter flavor even more in focus. Some people
get a little anxious when they see dark specks in pastries and desserts;
I once had a waiter ask me what the dark flecks in the vanilla ice cream
were. When I told him they were vanilla beans, and asked him
(incredulously) what he thought they were, he replied, “I thought they
you brown the butter, when pouring it out of the pan, you don’t want to
scrape up too much of the dark bits at the bottom of the pan, but I don’t
mind a few in my cakes (in fact, I prefer them), so don’t fret too much
about having a few in your batter. These cakes are also very forgiving,
which is why so many bakeries in France offer them. They’re easy to make,
keep well, and are the perfect afternoon snack – or as the French say, un snack.
financiers, I use mini-muffin tins, which are easily available. I'm not a
fan of silicone bakeware but know that some people like it. This batter
is pretty forgiving so can be baked in madeleine molds or even in larger
muffin tins, filling them only about halfway. If you use another size
mold, you'll likely need to adjust the baking time; bake them until
browned on top, and the feel just set in the center when you touch them.
As mentioned, I made these with leftover brown butter from the Brown Butter Old Fashioned recipe. I
started with 4 ounces (8 tablespoons/115g) of butter, which yielded the
amount called for in the recipe. If starting from scratch, and making
your own brown butter, start with that amount of brown butter, then you
can measure it out when it's browned and cooled. (If you need a bit more
butter, you can simply add a bit of melted butter to it, to reach the 2
1/2 oz/75g amount. There are links at the end of the post with detailed
instructions on making brown butter.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF/180ºC and butter the insides of 24 mini muffin
tins generously with softened, not melted, butter, making sure the butter
the upper rims of the indentations.
In a medium bowl, mix the almond or hazelnut powder, sugar, flour and
salt. Stir in the egg whites and vanilla or almond extract, then the
Fill each indentation of the mini muffin tins almost to the top. Rap the
tins sharply on the counter to level the tops, then bake for 13 minutes,
until nicely browned. Let the financiers cool in the tins, then remove
them, using a sharp knife to help release them, if necessary.
The financiers can be stored in an air-tight container for up to one
week. They can be frozen for up to two months.