Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Like Financiers

I love macarons, of course, but they have an overhead. The hassle of grinding the nuts very finely, waiting for the egg whites to age and the piped macarons to crust, and the stressful anticipation for emerging feet sometimes make me think twice before I embark on a macaron journey. Another French egg white creation, on the other hand, could not be easier. I am talking about financiers. Financier batter is easy to whip up, and is versatile enough to take many forms. And financiers are almost as delicious as macarons, especially if you have them shortly after baked, when the outside is still crunchy and the inside is fragrant and moist.

If you are pressed with time, you can bake a financier tart rather than individual financiers like I did here.

Financier batter marries successfully with fruit, too. I used plum halves, here.

And this one had sauteed apples underneath the batter, and a pie crust to encase it all.

You can change the almond theme, as well. These muffin-shaped financiers were made with ground pistachios. They were delicate, with tiny bits of pistachios speckled inside.

Then there was this variation with hazelnuts. Hazelnuts bring to mind another famous hazelnut creation: Nutella. Topped with Nutella and more hazelnuts, these squares did not look like financiers, but the taste of toasted nuts and browned butter gave them away.

As you can see, I tried a few variations. But the one I like most is this one: A Nick Malgieri recipe which uses softened (rather than melted and browned) butter to suspend small fruit such as raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Sliced almonds on top offer a visual hint to what's to come when you take your first bite. These are great when freshly baked, and become softer as they wait. Then again, they don't linger around for long, anyway.

If you haven't made financiers before, I urge you to give it a try. You will not be sorry.