15 January 2012

Financiers, or “gold bars”

The little almond cakes called Financiers got that name because they are usually made in a pan that gives each cake the look of a little gold bar. They're golden brown. Financiers seem to be either French or Swiss in origin, depending on the source you believe. The recipe has been around for about 125 years.

An almond-flour mini-muffin made with Financier batter

I made a batch of Financiers yesterday, but instead of cooking them in the shape of gold bars, I cooked them in the min-muffin pans that Walt bought at the supermarket in Blois a few days ago. They are little muffins that are almost bite-size — or if you don't have a big mouth, each one might take you two bites to consume! You could also cook the batter in a madeleine pan.

Golden mini-muffins cooked in purple pans

Financiers are a good way to use up the egg whites you save in the freezer after using just egg yolks in French sauces and stuffings or for making your own mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce. You know, you could make them with those egg substitutes called Egg Beaters that you buy in American supermarkets. They are mostly egg whites with yellow food coloring in them — aren't they?

Cooling on a rack, they look a little like mushrooms

To make them really low in cholesterol, substitute vegetable oil or margarine for the butter. I think they'll still be good. And to make them gluten-free, make them with almond powder only instead of half almond powder and half wheat flour. And finally, this recipe calls for beaten egg whites, but others Financier recipes I've seen use the egg whites as is. Since there's baking powder in the ingredient list, beating the egg whites isn't absolutely required, but will make the cakes lighter.

Here's the recipe in my translation. The original recipe is one I got off marmiton.org and it's in French, but it says this is an Alsatian version that is also called Eiwisskuche out there on the French-German border.

Financiers

6 egg whites
150 g sugar (6 fl. oz.)
100 g almond powder (6 fl. oz.)
110 g flour (8 fl. oz.)
½ tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
50 g butter (4 Tbsp.), softened
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. almond extract

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF / 200ºC.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and half the sugar until they're fairly stiff.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, almond powder, and the rest of the sugar.

Add the softened butter, vegetable oil, and almond extract. Mix well. Finally, fold in the beaten egg whites.

Bake in silicone mini-muffin pans for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Test for doneness with a wooden skewer. Unmold the muffins after they have cooled slightly.
The fluid-ounce quantities in the recipe are approximate but they'll work fine. I've also cooked the Financier batter in a regular cake pan and then cut the cake into squares after it has cooled completely. That works too.

9 comments:

  1. oh man I'm hungry.....i'm going to make these Sunday.....right after i get home from the movies....gonna see War Horse.

    Victoria, Bellingham, WA

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  2. These look lovely...and I didn't realise Walt's mini muffin pans were purple - how fabulous !!

    I seem to remember reading somewhere that financiers and friands are the same thing, or from the same origin - I have made friands a few times with great success and the recipe looks similar. And I didn't know you could freeze egg whites - thanks for the tip.

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  3. I hadn't thought about using mini muffin pans for financiers and thanks for the recipe which looks quite yummy.

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  4. almond powder is ground almonds?

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  5. I see on the news that the Beauval zoo is welcoming its pandas today. More visitors to St. Aignan, then.

    The financiers look yummy. Since the holidays I've put on a few kilos and I swear it's just from reading what wonderful food everyone is preparing and seeing the photos.

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  6. Good to know Ken.
    I usually do coconut macaroons ( Congolais) with leftover egg whites and now I have another solution.

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  7. Melinda, yes, almond powder (poudre d'amandes) is ground almonds. You could also use ground hazelnuts.

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  8. Love that you offered a gluten free idea. Can't wait to make them! My stomach is growling.

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  9. Natalie, if you read French, look at this gluten-free recipe for financiers. Ground almonds, sugar, melted butter, and egg whites (unbeaten) ... that's it.

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