It was a beautiful sunny day of all the days we've been here in Paris since we arrived. In line with that, V and I decided on a petit four just as bright. These small little tea cakes known as Financiers are well loved by the French and almost everyone else. They're so quick and easy, and perfect as a snack at any time of the day. Oh and did I mention a totally portable and on-the-go munchie? This batch accompanied me and J on our train ride to Genève. What's best is you can make them in any of your favourite flavours! I always love an acidic balance to any desserts I have or make so I opted for lemon plus the addition of poppy seeds because nothing screams louder than (lemon + poppy seeds) for tea.
It always amazes me how the simplest and most humble ingredients can create some of the best things in the world. I mean in this case you literally only need the most basic stuff to bake a cake. Flour, almond powder, sugar, eggs, vanilla and butter. And then if you want a Financier recipe that gives you the best results and texture, you might require a few additional ingredients like inverted sugar which in this case the recipe calls for. Since it's not a normal household pantry staple, it can only mean it's a recipe from the professional kitchens of Paris that directly translates to achieving splendid Financiers. Courtesy of J, he knows what he's doing. Trust him.
Blue poppy seeds and the most divine thing that ever existed; beurre noisette
I don't have fond memories of making Financiers before. I made them once, hundreds of them, for a catering event back when I was in Antoinette. I don't know why but the texture of it was not to my liking at all so I had the impression that all Financiers were like that since that's probably the only "French café" in Singapore that actually makes these little tea cakes. Until I came to Paris did I taste the real deal and my phobia of making them vanished and I'm completely head over heels in love with them now and I really think everyone out there should too if you've never had or made them before!
1. Sift and mix all your dry ingredients + inverted sugar together. Add in your poppy seeds and whisk till everything is well distributed.
2. Add in your browned butter and mix till you get a stiff mass. (Do not over mix) Add in your vanilla bean paste at this point.
3. Whisk in your egg white till you get a smooth and homogeneous batter and then gently fold in your lemon zest.
4. Film the batter upon contact and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.
5. While your batter is resting, butter and flour your moulds and set aside till needed.
6. Just before you fill your moulds with the batter, line them up nicely for easy filling and a more organized working pattern.
7. Pipe the batter into the floured moulds using a 11mm nozzle till about 3/4 full. Bake them at 170C with ventilation for about 11-12 minutes till golden brown.
These pretty things deserve some light.
Utterly light and airy but still so moist! These are by far the best Financiers I've had. The bright sharp zing from the lemon zest and the little crunch from the poppy seeds make these tea cakes such a delectable treat for anyone. This is probably the first Financier recipe whereby the nutty hazelnut flavour of the brown butter is so distinct that you realize how much of a world of difference it makes. Try not to lick the back of your wooden mixing spoon so much, save it for the moulds ;) It's that délicieux.
Serving it alongside some confiture made it even better. J had some Coing jelly on hand and the floral notes of it paired beautifully with the acidity of the tea cakes.
I hope this Financier recipe finds you well and gets you baking something smashing to start off the new 2014.
Sending all my love to everyone from Paris, have a wonderful and blessed year.
// P.S Sorry there is no photo on the journal front above the excerpt like there usually is. The new updated version of this blogging engine went nuts a little and they've yet to fix this bug. Will fill in all that missing photos the moment it has been fixed. //
Lemon Poppy Seed Financier:
(courtesy of J + my own add ins)
flour - 125g
icing sugar - 270g
almond powder - 120g
baking powder - 3g
poppy seeds - 3 tbsp
inverted sugar - 30g
browned butter (slightly warm) - 180g
honey - 40g
vanilla bean paste - 3g
egg white - 335g
zest of lemon - 3 no.
Sift the flour and icing sugar, and then combine all the dry ingredients together. Add in the inverted sugar and whisk together till the mass is homogenous and poppy seeds are well distributed.
Pour in the browned butter and mix briefly. The mixture should be thick a thick paste.
Add in the vanilla bean paste and the honey, followed by the egg whites and whisk till everything is well incorporated. Throw in the lemon zest and fold it in.
Cling film the mixture upon contact and leave to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour and a half to 2 hours.
In the meanwhile, butter and flour your moulds and set aside till needed.
Once your batter has rested sufficiently, preheat your oven to 170C with ventilation and arrange your moulds neatly across a baking tray. Using a piping bag and a nozzle of about 11mm, pipe the batter till about 3/4 up the side of the moulds. Pop them into the oven and bake for about 11 - 12 minutes or until golden brown and it springs back to touch. Leave to cool completely before unmolding.
Serve freshly baked financiers alongside a cup of tea and your favorite jam or clotted cream.