Raspberry Financiers

January 24th, 2013

While we were in Paris last summer I bought a silicone financier pan from Dehillerin, the iconic kitchen supply store.  I have regretted not buying the individual financier tin molds ever since.  Financiers are small cakes made in Paris bakeries in the shape of gold bars.  They were originally sold in the financial district to busy businessmen who wanted a quick snack on the go, since when you have an LLC is important to learn how to manage your time and employees. 

I have a friend here in Florida whose mother was an expert chocolate maker.  Stephanie inherited all of her mother’s chocolate molds.   I was describing the rectangular financier molds to her and she said that she would look through her collection to see if she had any.  To my surprise and delight I received this gift from Stephanie.

The fluted molds are so beautiful.  I feel honored that she wanted to share them with me.  Stephanie’s  mother was not only an exceptional baker, she was also a hat model in New York City.  Looking at Stephanie,with her beautiful sculpted cheek bones and wide smile, I can understand why her mother’s visage would be perfect for modeling hats.  Does anyone model hats anymore?  I doubt it.

Traditionally financiers are made with browned butter, almond meal and confectioner’s sugar.  That combination makes a delicious cake.  I have become addicted to them.  You can make your own almond meal by grinding almonds into a fine mix or you can buy almond meal at most health food or specialty grocery stores.  You can make them plain or add fruit such as raspberries or blueberries to the top.  I have even made a savory financier using sage leaves and walnuts.  See that recipe here.  This recipe came from Joy of Baking and there is a great video included with the recipe.


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose-flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (can use almond meal/flour)
3/4 cup confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Fresh berries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) with the oven rack in the center of the oven. Place 12 rectangular or boat shaped tartlet molds (each holds about 2 tablespoons of batter) on a baking sheet. (Can also use mini muffin cups.)

Place the butter in a small light colored saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted let it come to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally. As it boils you will notice that a foam will appear on the butter’s surface. Continue to cook the butter until it looks clear and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and have turned golden brown. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Let cool to room temperature. You will need 1/3 cup (80 ml) of brown butter. Use the leftover brown butter to butter the molds (use a pastry brush).

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, ground almonds, confectioners sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and fold in the lightly beaten egg whites, vanilla, and the brown butter. Fill each mold almost to the rim and bake for about 4 minutes (batter is set around the edges but still soft in the center). Remove from the oven and gently place one or two fresh raspberries on top of each. Bake a further 5-7 minutes or until the Financiers have become golden brown around the edges and are springy to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. These are best eaten warm from the oven, but they can be covered and stored for a few days at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Makes about 12 Financiers.

Printable recipe

Walnut and Sage Financiers

September 30th, 2012
“A financier is a small French cake, often mistaken for a pastry. The financier is a light and moist, similar to sponge cake, and usually contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds, or almond flavoring. The distinctive feature of the recipe isbeurre noisette (brown butter).[1] Other ingredients include egg whites, flour, and powdered sugar. Financiers are baked in shaped molds, usually small rectangular loaves similar in size to petits fours.[1]
The name financier is said to derive from the traditional rectangular mold, which resembles a bar of gold. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding the Paris stock exchange.

Financier pans are traditionally rectangular, but other shapes are not uncommon.”  (Wikipedia)

While I was in Paris this June, one of the excursions that was high on my list was a visit to E. Dehillerin, the cooking equipment store that has been supplying restaurants, chefs, and home cooks with the tools of their trade for years.  I was specifically looking for financier pans.  I was hoping to find small individual tin molds that were used in years past to shape these cakes.  E. Dehillerin is a treasure trove of esoteric cooking equipment.

Although I did find the individual tin molds, I opted for a small silicone pan with the traditional rectangular shapes.  It was easy to pack for the trip home.  As it turns out, they are readily available on Amazon.  Oh well, I should have chosen the tin molds.  I put the financier mold in the back of my baking drawer because we have had a busy summer. This was the first chance I have had to pull it out and experiment with financiers.

As stated above, financiers are usually made with almond flour or ground almonds with flour.  They are usually studded with fruit like blackberries, raspberries or blueberries.  But I had seen a recipe on the Food 52 website that intrigued me.  It used ground walnuts instead of almonds and sage leaves were frizzled in the browning butter.  Along with the powdered sugar for sweetness, maple syrup was added to the flavor profile.  It sounded like a lovely Fall interpretation to me.

I think you will agree that these airy cakes are both earthy and sweet.  They would be good with tea or even as a slightly sweet accompaniment to soup.  I am looking forward to making some with a fruit filling.  There are so many possibilities.  If you don’t have a financier pan, they can be baked in muffin tins.  You don’t have to fill the muffin cups.  They are supposed to be thin.

WALNUT AND SAGE FINANCIERS ( recipe courtesy of Sugar Mountain Treats)

This recipe makes 12
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
    12 small sage leaves
  • 3/4 cups finely ground walnuts
    2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1/3 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 5 egg whites
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Generously butter 12 financier tins or a 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. In a dry frying pan, toast the ground walnuts until fragrant and lightly colored (you can also toast the walnuts before grinding, if you prefer). Do not allow to burn. Set aside in a small bowl and wipe out the frying pan.
  3. Cut the butter into five large pieces and add to the frying pan. Melt over medium heat. When the butter starts to boil, add the sage leaves. Keep a close watch on the pan and remove from the heat when the butter is fragrant and nutty-smelling, with small brown flecks, and the sage leaves are crisp. Pour into a medium bowl. For a perfectly smooth texture, strain the butter; otherwise, just fish out the sage leaves to use later as a garnish.
  4. Add the walnuts, flour, maple syrup, and powdered sugar to the butter and whisk thoroughly. Add the egg whites and whisk some more, until the mixture is completely smooth. It should be pourable. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and press a sage leaf onto the top of each.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are bouncy (if you’re using a muffin tin, it might take a few minutes longer). Turn off the oven and leave the financiers in to dry for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes, then unmold and serve.
  6. Financiers will keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to three days. I think they’re even better the next day, when the texture is a bit denser

A French Dinner with Friends

May 22nd, 2012

We were invited to dinner last Saturday night.  We are so lucky to have such good and supportive friends.  And to think that we met them because of our respective blogs.  The “Other Penny”, as we sometimes refer to each other, has a lifestyle blog that has detailed her many talents in whispering houses back to life.  She and her husband both know what a house needs to make it a comfortable home.  Her blog, The Comforts of Home, chronicles the projects and ideas that can improve any house.  But she is also a fantastic cook.  Penny is well aware of our upcoming trip to France (Probably because that is all I talk about).  Both she and her husband  have been to France and have shared many tips with us.  For our Bon Voyage dinner Penny made a French meal.

One of France’s national treasures is the Gourgere.  These small cheese puffs are made from pate a choux dough.  In its sweet version the dough is used in cream puffs stuffed with sweetened whipped cream.  But when you want a savory appetizer you add Gruyere cheese to the dough and allow them to bake, puff and form a hollow center.  They melt in your mouth.  They are made all over France, but the Burgundy region claims them as their own.  They are served in many restaurants there as an appetizer with the local aperitif.  We had them with a lovely white wine.  Here is the recipe from Barefoot in Paris.

Coq au Vin, the classic French chicken in red wine is one of the dishes that I have served many times.  But Penny’s version, made with white wine, is a perfect alternative.  The one thing that has always bothered my about the original recipe is the burgundy color that infuses the chicken.  It just doesn’t look natural.  White wine is a good thing for this dish.  Penny also uses boneless chicken thighs which cook faster and retain their juiciness.  Her rendition keeps the smoky bacon flavor, the earthiness of the mushrooms and the silkiness of the onions.  It is winey and earthy at the same time.  The mashed potatoes (David’s favorite) and the braised carrots are the perfect  finishing touches.   You can find her recipe here.

Dessert was a spectacular lemon meringue tart.  The recipe came from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris.  The mood has been set and we are ready for our trip.  Thanks for a great meal Penny.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.