Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blueberry Financiers

Financiers popular in France are little almond cakes traditionally shaped into a rectangle to resemble gold bricks. They are considered to be petit fours and can be baked into a variety of shaped molds, or mini muffin tins. They can be topped with fruit or sliced almonds before going into the oven. Their distinct flavor comes from the combination of "browned butter" and ground almonds. Financiers are slightly crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside. These little gems are not only one of my favorites but are elegant, easy to make, and always a a crowd pleaser.
"Browned butter" is an important component in this recipe so I think that is where I will start you off. The technique is simple but requires your full attention.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat stirring often. The butter will foam up and bubble. as the ater is cooked off. The milk solds will fall to the bottom. Cook until the solids turn a golden color, usually 5-7 minutes depending on your stove and the amount of butter. Watch carefully if the solids burn the butter will be bitter and you will need to start again. Let the mixture cool (not solidify). At this point many recipes instruct you to strain out the solids. I like to keep them for maximum flavor. You now have "browned butter". Set aside.
Ingredients for the Financiers:
1 tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup almonds, finely ground
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup egg whites (appox 4)
5 tbs butter, melted, browned, cooled
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Blueberries, cleaned and dried
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a pastry brush, using the 1 tbs melted butter, generously coat the molds. Arrange the molds on a baking sheet (not touching). Place in the freezer until needed.
In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds and flour; stir to blend and set aside. Add the extracts to the browned butter. Be careful with your timing you do not want the butter to solidify. In a clean dry bowl using the shisk attachment, bea the egg whites and salt until they form a soft peak. On a high speed add the sugar in a slow stream and continue to whisk until the egg whites hold a medium peak. Slowly add the browned butter mixture on high speed. The mixture should be light in color and very fluffy. Fold in the dry ingredients (do not over mix). Fill the molds about 3/4 full. Top with a 2-3 blueberries or other fruit or sliced almonds. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven. Bake until well risen and firm; about 15-20 minutes depending on your molds.
Remove from oven, let cool for about 5 minutes. Unmold and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with a chocolate glaze. The financiers will not keep well in a humid climate so make only what you plan on serving.

1 comment:

Vicki said...

These look so perfect for afternoon tea. I had financiers for the first time when we baked them out of Rose's book. I love blueberries. These sound delicious.