Financiers are mini French tea cakes that are delicate, moist and nutty and are traditionally made with brown butter and almond flour.
Financiers (pronounced fee-nahn-see-ay) have awesome contrasting textures—crisp and chewy at the edges, moist and tender at center, with a bite to them thanks to the almond flour. Brown butter (I am a fan) along with almonds adds to the nutty flavor to balance the sweetness. I feel the brown butter specks just add character to them!
‘Financiers’ got this name because the bakeries near Paris financial district made them look like gold bars and they were quick and easy to eat by all the fancy guys in suits. Though the traditional look is rectangle bars, they can very easily be made into a muffin pan or even a full cake pan.
With basic pantry ingredients of egg whites, sugar, almond flour, all purpose flour and butter, these are perfect canvas for flavours especially berries and stone fruits and citrus. I just added some fresh orange zest (I love my zester! Make sure to get only the orange skin and not the white pith). You can add pear or peach or strawberry on top of each before baking.
What is Brown Butter you ask?
Have you tried brown butter in recipes? It adds a great nutty, toasty flavor to any recipe you add to – cake, blondies, cookies, or even savory dishes like pasta. In French cooking, they call it ‘beurre noisette‘ deriving from the toasty hazelnut-like smell it has.
So is it difficult to make brown butter? No! All you need is some butter, a pan and a heatproof spatula with about 10 minutes in hand.
What happens when butter is heated? Simply put, butter is milk proteins, fat & water. When you heat the butter, the water starts to evaporate (thus intensifying the flavor) and the milk proteins start to brown and caramelize.
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 90 g egg whites – from 3 large eggs
- 100 g caster sugar
- 100 g almond flour
- 50 g All Purpose Flour
- pinch Salt
- 1 Orange for zest
- some extra butter and flour for dusting the pan
- Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Prepare your pan by rubbing melted butter all throughout and dusting with plain flour. Keep aside.
Making Brown Butter
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over low-medium heat while stirring occasionally. For the initial few minutes, it'll bubble and foam a lot as the water in butter evaporates. Only after it reaches the temperature where most water is gone, the milk solids will start to brown and you'll start seeing small brown flecks at the bottom. Once you're happy with the browning (neither light nor burnt), remove the pan from the heat and if you want, strain the liquid into your bowl to catch the brown bits. (I add the brown bits to the batter too unless they are too burnt). Let the liquid cool down slightly for about 10 minutes.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar for about 2 minutes till the sugar is almost dissolved and mixture is thick and foamy.
- Sift in the almond flour, all purpose flour and salt into the bowl and mix till its all combined and no lumps remain.
- Add the slightly cool brown butter to the mixture and whisk together. Add the fresh orange zest and combine.
- Fill the pan with batter a little more than half full. (If you're adding a fruit here, press a small piece of it into the center of each).
- Bake the financiers for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of Financiers it may take longer).
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes before removing the Financiers from the pan. Cool them completely on a wire rack.
- The financiers can be stored in an air-tight container for up to one week at room temperature.