Monday, July 13, 2015

Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers

Financiers were once described to me as little tea cakes.  And when they were, I conjured up the image of  a proper English tea time with elderly woman wearing big hats sipping Earl Gray from floral printed cups all while sitting next to tiered trays of several different types of these tea cakes.

It seemed so elegant--and I imagine that that image actually comes to fruition some where in the world--or at least at one point in time it did.

And even if it doesn't today it doesn't change the fact that, still, there is something elegant and quaint about financiers.

They're not ornate or ostentatious by being garnished with piped frosting or layered with different types of mousse.  It's just the cake and any flavor added to the batter by way of nuts or fruit.  Nothing is overly embellished and everything about them is restrained--but not dull.

So simple that I can't seem to find anymore words to write about them--albeit a few notes/words of advice.

Financiers are usually baked in little rectangular loaf-like pans--which I happen to own.  If you don't, it's not uncommon to use mini muffin/cupcake pans, which the author (Dorie Greenspan) of this recipe points out.  That said, the recipe baking times may differ a bit depending on which type of mold you use--so you'll need to keep any eye out for that.  I have another recipe that specifies the financier molds I have so I referenced that for the baking time and tested it out a bit on my first batch. Initially, the first batch seemed a bit over-baked.  I felt like they were a bit too crunchy on the outside edges.  So, I reduced the baking time for the next few batches and that seemed to allay that issue. However, during the next few days--while being stored in an air tight container--the financiers seemed to soften up a bit and their texture was even more cake-like--which pleased me.  I've read from other recipes that financiers are best the day they are baked and then a few days after.  I completely disagree with this.  I think they taste even better as they age a bit---I mean I'm not talking anymore than a week--but after a few days I think they taste even better--in fact I happen to think this about a lot of desserts that aren't deep fried.  But anyway, contrary to what most recipes state I think these will keep great for up to a week in an air tight container--and at room temperature.

Recipe slightly adapted from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan

170g (12 T) unsalted butter
180g (+/- 6 large eggs) egg whites
99g (3/4c) roasted and salted shelled pistachios
200g (1c) granulated sugar
90g (2/3c) all-purpose flour
pinch of sea salt
123g (1c) fresh raspberries

Place the egg whites in a small bowl and using a fork or a small whisk, whisk the whites just until they are broken up and then set them aside.  Next, using a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat--whisking often so you don't let any of the butter burn.  Essentially you're browning the butter--although Dorie Greenspan doesn't specifically state that.  She states to melt the butter until it just about turns a "pale golden" brown color.  So, I guess you're slightly browning it.  Anyway, once it just starts to brown remove it from the heat and pour it into a measuring cup and set it aside.  Then, take the shelled pistachios and place them in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse the pistachios until they are a course grind--be careful not to over-process them or else you might form an oily paste. Add the flour, sugar and salt to the ground pistachios and pulse until they are well combined with the pistachios.  Next, pour the mixture from the food processor bowl into a clean medium sized bowl. Pour the egg whites into the dry ingredients and whisk gently just until fully combined. Lastly, slowly pour the butter mixture into the egg white mixture and whisk just until combined.  I poured the butter mixture in incrementally--so I poured a little in and whisked it just until combined and continued doing that until I poured all of it in.  Once all of the butter is mixed in, place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the batter and refrigerate the batter for a least 8 hours or overnight.  Once the batter has been chilled, butter your molds (I used 3 1/4 inch by 1 3/4 inch rectangular molds) and then place them on a baking sheet and into the fridge to chill.  Then, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Divide the batter evenly between the molds (about 25g or 1 1/2T for each rectangular mold).  Place at least one raspberry in the middle of the batter of each financier mold.  Then, bake the financiers for about 17-20 minutes.  As I mentioned previously, I had to lower my baking time and that time ended up being 17 minutes.  Once the financiers are done--they should be springy when you lightly touch the top of one--remove them from the oven and immediately remove them from the mold and let cool completely on a cooling rack.  Store the cooled financiers for up to a week in an air tight container.