After a morning of being in the dentist and emptying the pockets of a few hundreds of dollars, a 5km run and a dinner of bak chor mee, all I need is zen, calmness, before the in-laws arrive in less than 24 hours. They are somewhere in the sky as I write.
These financiers are no-fuss but definitely a comfort to an exhausted soul. They look good as a welcome gift to the family too!
Financier (pronounced “FEE-nan-ci-AY) is a moist and extremely versatile cake. It has many virtues. The batter can be refrigerated and held up to 2 weeks- in fact it’s best made a day in advance. The cake stays fresh for days after it is baked. The cooled cake can be layered with fillings like curd and ganache.
The most outstanding attribute of financiers is its moistness. Only egg whites are used. They have the same stabilizing protein as the yolk but much more water. And while most cake recipes call for whipping air into the whites, creating a foam, in financier the whites remain liquid.
Butter also adds to the moist texture of this type of cake. While in typical cakes solid butter is creamed at the beginning of a recipe, here it is melted and added to the batter last.
The following recipe came from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Desserts
2/3 cup (55g) sliced almonds (I used ground almonds)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
5 tbsp (45g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp green tea powder (matcha)
1/4 tsp baking powder
Big pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1/2 orange, preferably organic
1/2 cup (125g) egg whites (about 4 large egg whites)
6 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Butter a 24-cup mini muffin tin.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tsp sesame seeds and sea salt and sprinkle the muffin cups with two thirds of the mixture.
3. To make the financiers, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender, pulverise the almonds, sugar, the 1 tbsp white sesame seeds, the flour, matcha, baking powder, salt, and orange zest until the nuts are finely ground. Add the egg whites and butter and pulse until the mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl or blender jar as needed to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly combined. I gave up on my blender halfway through and transferring all the ingredients into a big bowl, I used a whisk to mix them together so that they are well combined.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, then sprinkle the tops with the remaining sesame-salt mixture. I could only fill up to 23 muffin cups and each is filled to the half-mark. Rap the muffin tin on the counter once or twice to release any air pockets and level the batter. Bake just until the financiers feel firm when gently pressed with a finger, about 12 to 15 minutes.
5. Let cool completely, then remove the financiers from the muffin cups.
The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking. Although financiers will keep for up to 1 week stored in a cookie tin, their crusts will soften.