Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Apricot Financiers

Here are little cakes I make just because I like telling the story of how they got their name.

Legend has it they were first sold at a bakery near the Paris stock exchange. Who knows what they were called then. I bet they didn't even have a name actually, and that hungry traders just gestured at them in the window and loudly asked for a dozen. As its popularity grew, the pastry took on the name of its top customer:  the financier.

Little gold bars of butter and almond. What a fitting treat for the whealers and dealers of the day.

There are infinite variations on the basic recipe, but in general I think berries and apricots work best. A very unscientific poll of some of my most loyal fans revealed that their favorite is the raspberry and matcha one. (You can find matcha powder at specialized Japanese shops.)

You will read in some cookbooks that you need to grind your own almonds, sift the almond powder with the flour and the confectioner's sugar (the way you do for macarons) and slowly cook your butter until it takes on a nutty flavor. I don't bother. I'm not suggesting here that these steps are entirely useless, but I believe they have only a marginal utility. Is it worth spending an extra 15 minutes on this recipe to make it 15% better? You decide.

The perfectionists among you --you know who you are--will likely give it a shot.

I, meanwhile, will have a cup of tea.

120g of almond powder
170g butter
140g confectioner sugar
40g flour
4 egg whites

Silicon financier mould (you can also use muffins ones, half filled or mini loaf cake tins, again half filled)

Melt the butter over low heat in a small pan or in the microwave (should take less than a minute at full power). In a separate bowl, mix the almond powder, the sugar and the flour. Add the egg whites (unbeaten).

Wash, halve and pit the apricots. Slice them along the shorter side (otherwise the slices will be too long to fit in the individual moulds).

Pop in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.

Perhaps the most important step. Cool on a rack so the edges get deliciously crisp.

Financiers will last five days in a tupperware container.

1 comment:

  1. I seriously doubt these will last five days... ;)